“Planes. As in plural.”

Murdoc and his family just returned from the Gerald R. Ford Museum where we took part in the Scout Salute, a sun-up to sun-down salute of the US Flag put on by the Gerald R. Ford Council of the Boy Scouts of America. We stood in the rain, saluting to pay our respects to those who fell that day and to honor those who have served to protect our nation and communities in the days since.

I was struck by the fact so many of the young men (and some young women from various organizations) had been so very young or not even born nine years ago. It is the nature of things to fade into history and for the significance of things to change when it did not occur within memory. My son and daughter saw the news reports that day, but they’ll pretty much live their whole life in a “post-9/11” world. They know it was terrible. They know it was significant. But I wonder how different from Pearl Harbor it will seem in their minds.

I’ve at least wanted to make sure that my son had a better understanding of what we were honoring and what we were promising to never forget. One thing we did was watch United 93 together. I think that film does a pretty good job showing the way things unfolded.

A few years back, I wrote a summary of the first chapter of the 9/11 Commission Report.

The first chapter summarizes activity, flight by flight, in the air and on the ground during the time of the hijackings. One story I wasn’t familiar with took place on American 11, the first plane hijacked and the first to be flown into its target, the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

As this was happening, passenger Daniel Lewin, who was seated in the row just behind Atta and Omari,was stabbed by one of the hijackers—probably Satam al Suqami, who was seated directly behind Lewin. Lewin had served four years as an officer in the Israeli military. He may have made an attempt to stop the hijackers in front of him, not realizing that another was sitting behind him.

What a difference one man might have made.

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    The 42nd Iraqi Army Brigade stops at a checkpoint in Sadr City, Iraq, to assess conditions, May 28, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Daniel Herrera

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  2. I’d be the first to admit I have a very jaundiced view of humanity. A large part of it is undoubtedly fallout from my lengthy participation in criminal justice, and it’s atttendent association with the worst elements in society.

    Anyway…….more to your point about people being able to make a difference. People are basically sheep, and unless one or two heard leaders emerge in any given circumstance, the bleeters tend to mill aorund and………well, bleet ineffectively. Factor in Americans tendency towards soft easy living (at least in post WW II America), and aversion to sacrifice and it’s easy to see how a plane full of people can be cowed by 3 or 4 guys with ********* razor blades. I don’t care how bad you are, or religiously committed, you’re not gonna whip 4 or 5 (or more) people intent on taking your razor blade and kicking your ***.

    There likely wasn’t enough people who stood up to resist the hi jackers, and if only one or two did, and got put down, it just cowed the rest of the passengers. When those cowardly pricks first started their take overs, I’m sure they cut up a couple of people as examples to the rest, amplifying any existent tendencies to heard up and bleet. Flight 93 being the exception, it’s really sad they didn’t get motivated and organised early in the incident. They might have been able to take out the trash before they (the trash hi jackers) gained full control of the cockpit and flight controls.

    Having said all that, I’ve been gratified to note a significant strengthening of resolve amongst the potential victim population since 9/11. There have been a couple of hijacking attempts that triggered immediate effective counter measures by other passengers who didn’t feel like ending up as flaming wreakage. Good for them!

    BTW: It was nice of your family to go down there and pay their respects like that. Good for you!

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