The Lesson

Flight 93 National Memorial

Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, PA

Reading time – 54 seconds; Viewing time – 1:54  .  .  .

I fly a lot and often think about the people on those four airplanes on that awful day, September 11, 2001. Most often I think about those on United Flight #93.

WTC AttackThere had been victims of terrorists before then, like those on the USS Cole and in the Marine barracks in Lebanon. And there were victims of terrorists on that very day aboard the airplanes that were flown into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. Each time they were hapless victims, either because they were scared into being compliant or they were simply blindsided. Not so for those on United #93.

The USS Cole is towed into open sea on Oct. 29, 2000 Photo: DOD by Sgt. Don L. Maes, U.S. Marine Corps

USS Cole is towed into open sea, Oct. 29, 2000 Photo: DOD, Sgt. Don L. Maes, U.S.M.C.

Todd Beamer’s name and face are in my memory, but more than those are his words: “Let’s roll.” He was telling his fellow passengers and, unknown to him, this entire nation, not to be victims. He was telling us to take action. And I tell myself that very thing, in part because of his words and actions.

[Ed. note: Check the PS below – it’s not in the video.}

We have fought back as a nation. That there haven’t been far more attacks is noteworthy and great thanks go to the good people who have prevented them. Still, our people have died in San Bernardino and Boston and Fort Bragg and Orlando and survivors still grieve.

Todd Beamer

Todd Beamer

In the face of so much suffering, others have heard the call and stepped up. Like Bill Badger, who stopped more killing at the Tucson Safeway store where Gabby Giffords and others were shot by a crazy in 2011. And Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, who stopped a murderer on a French train in 2015.

Whatever happens there are always lessons, and one of the lessons of 9/11 is to step up. To take action. To refuse to be a victim. Always, the imperative is, “Let’s roll.”


PS: There are people who volunteer to do dangerous things for the rest of us.

Almost 14% of the people who died in the World Trade Center buildings were first responders who charged into those burning buildings in order to save the people inside. It’s on us to make sure that Congress honors our commitment to the surviving first responders – all of them – in order to ensure they get the medical support they earned through their courage and selfless dedication. Tell Congress there’s no weasel room on this: tell them to do the right thing.

Our military people were once accused of awful things, yet they are now held in the highest esteem. Regardless, in each case they were far from home and doing the enormously hard and dangerous things of war because we sent them to do so for us. Some never got thanked and some still wait for the medical support they were promised.

Please read John Calia’s post and then do as he invites. Let’s roll.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Please offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe and engage.  Thanks!  JA

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One Response to The Lesson
  1. Jim Altschuler Reply

    While I totally agree with the content of this piece and its conclusion, I remind the readers that we have not been the only ones who have suffered loss. Far from it. Yes, we all tend to think of our nation’s losses first but there are others that should also be kept in mind:

    The Iraqis who have been killed by the thousands and those who have been yanked from their lives and tortured for information whether they had any or not;

    The thousands of Lebanese killed by whomever, countrymen or foe, in whichever conflict, while their homes and architecture, much of it thousands of years old and irreplaceable, were totally destroyed;

    The thousands of Syrians killed and the hundreds of thousands who had to flee their homes, their loved ones and their homeland in order to save themselves, their family members and their way of life;
    And the thousands of others from the many nations in the middle east and north African regions who suffered and died similarly.

    Many of these people were innocent, too, and ended with the same agony, leaving their families with the same anguish. It’s not that any of them are more important, not the Americans who lost their lives, or their families, or the thousands of others from other nations who lost their lives, and their families, whether on 9-11-01 or since then. They all have importance and should be remembered; Todd Beamer just stands out more because, I think, we saw and heard more about him and he portrayed a heroic image; God bless him and all of the others. “Let’s roll” forward together.