Tag Archives: Flight 93

9/11 Fifteen Years Ago

[Timeline courtesy of the Miami Herald.]

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[For my own personal reflections see “Reflections on 9/11” at http://t.co/86kIRapYtf.]

FOUR AIRLINERS HIJACKED

7:59 a.m. American Airlines Boeing 767 Flight 11 leaves Boston for Los Angeles; 87 people aboard
8:14 a.m. United Airlines Boeing 767 Flight 175 leaves Boston for Los Angeles; 60 people aboard
8:20 a.m. American Airlines Boeing 757 Flight 77 leaves Washington’s Dulles Airport for Los Angeles; 59 people aboard
8:42 a.m. United Airlines Boeing 757 Flight 93 leaves Newark, N.J., for San Francisco; 40 people aboard

NEW YORK ATTACKED

8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into World Trade Center north tower
9:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into World Trade Center south tower
9:21 a.m. All New York area bridges, tunnels closed
9:30 a.m. Visiting Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., President George W. Bush announces United States under “apparent terrorist attack”

WASHINGTON TARGETED

9:37 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into Pentagon
9:42 a.m. FAA stops all takeoffs, landings at U.S. airports; some international flights diverted to Canada
9:45 a.m. U.S. Capitol, White House evacuated
9:55 a.m. Bush leaves for Barksdale AFB, La., on Air Force One; escorted by six fighter jets
9:57 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 passengers struggle with hijackers over western Pennsylvania

BUILDINGS COLLAPSE

9:59 a.m. World Trade Center south tower collapses
10:00 a.m. U.S. financial markets close, begin longest shutdown since World War I
10:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 crashes near Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pa., failing to reach its hijackers’ intended target
10:10 a.m. Side of Pentagon collapses
10:28 a.m. World Trade Center north tower collapses

SHOCKED NATION REACTS

11:02 a.m. NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani orders evacuation of area south of Canal St.
12:30 p.m. 50 flights still in U.S. airspace
1:04 p.m. Bush announces U.S. military on high alert
1:44 p.m. Pentagon says five frigates and guided missile destroyers, two aircraft carriers leaving Norfolk, Va., to protect New York, Washington
1:48 p.m. Bush leaves Barksdale for Offutt AFB, Neb.; Air Force jets begin 24-hour flights over major cities

INFORMATION

4:00 p.m. Officials say Osama bin Laden involved in attacks
4:30 p.m. Bush leaves Offutt for Andrews AFB, Md.
5:20 p.m. Evacuated 47-story building in World Trade Center complex collapses
5:30 p.m. Officials say target of Flight 93 was White House, U.S. Capitol or Camp David in Maryland
6:54 p.m. Bush arrives at White House on Marine One helicopter
8:30 p.m. Bush addresses nation

HOPE in Dark Times

As we remember the shock and terror of 9/11 – and consider the state of the world and of America today – let us not lose hope.

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As we look upon the world scene, chaos reigns in much of the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Central and South America. Tyrannical regimes and terrorist states around the world are expanding their spheres of influence and employing their power for evil purposes.

In America, we are experiencing perils considered unthinkable just a decade ago, from unbridled immigration and race riots to Islamic jihad and domestic terrorism. The White House has become tyrannical and the judiciary is making laws. People who regard America as fundamentally flawed are in power and those who deny American exceptionalism have the loudest (and most heard) voices. The Church writ large is yielding to the world, endorsing homosexuality and promoting narcissism. Identity politics and political correctness have seized our political and cultural institutions.

Nevertheless, God is still on His throne. The supreme ruler of the universe – by whose providence America was founded and to whom America owes credit for her greatness – remains sovereign in the affairs of men. Our Father is faithful to His people and He hears their cries. His promises are sure.

Scripture is replete with assurances from our Creator and Redeemer. Psalm 147:11 declares, “the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

In Romans 15:13, the apostle Paul offers a succinct prayer for God’s people: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Let us abound in hope.

You Were There

Let me share two songs with you (YouTube videos hyperlinked).

Avalon’s You Were There reminds us of God’s omnipresence. God is everywhere and has always been there in key moments in history. He was there, giving David the courage to slay Goliath “when the hardest fight seemed so out of reach.” He was there, showing Abraham that He “had bigger plans” and provided a sacrifice to substitute for Abraham’s son, Isaac.

And God was there, “during history’s darkest hour,” when He gave His only begotten Son, that we might have eternal life with Him (John 3:16).

God “alone [can] keep the universe from crumbling into dust.” And He can keep our lives from falling apart.

You Raise Me Up

Selah’s You Raise Me Up points to the One who lifts us up when we are weary and overwhelmed. God lifts us up to the mountaintops and empowers us to “walk on stormy seas.” Indeed, our strength derives from the One who rules in majesty: “I am strong, when I am on your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be.”

Perhaps not so surprisingly, it is in those moments that our hearts are “filled with wonder” and we get glimpses of eternity.

We now face challenges which can appear insurmountable. We know our own frailty and our own powerlessness in certain circumstances. It is in times like these that despair can fall upon us. But it is at those very times when we must most remember to whom we should turn.

We live in dark times, times where it seems that evil has been unleashed from hell, yet our hope resides in one person – Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Light of the World, entered our world to pierce the darkness, to conquer death, and to redeem humanity. Jesus conquered Satan and death. Nothing is impossible for Him.

Let us keep our eyes on Him as we struggle for what is right and true in this life.

Reflections on 9/11

Some things you never forget.

I was working two blocks north of the White House when the Twin Towers were hit. From our building, we could see the Pentagon off in the distance. In the space of 51 minutes, three American jetliners were used as assault weapons of mass destruction against America.

When our receptionist mentioned hearing of the first plane crash, none of us recognized its seriousness or import. The sheer scope of what we would come to learn was a coordinated terrorist attack was unimaginable. The second tower was struck. Then the Pentagon was hit.

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We soon discovered 9/11 to be another day of infamy.

D.C. Evacuated

As events unfolded, the Capitol was evacuated and all flights over the continental U.S. were grounded.

Evacuation. Everyone was on the road. Traffic crawled. Emergency vehicles growled. It was a surreal experience. A beautiful, sunny day. Driving at one-mile-an-hour. Everyone was polite. No honking. Drivers yielded to one another. A measure of peace on earth in the midst of tragedy.

Heroes

The worst of events can often bring out the best in people. The one person who died on 9/11 that I personally knew was Barbara Olson. You may recall that she phoned her husband during the flight to tell him what was happening.

I met Barbara at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in 2001, where she granted me a brief interview. She was as gracious in person as on TV.

At CPAC the following year, I was blessed to meet one of the New York fire-fighters who rescued so many victims on 9/11. His story is but one of countless examples of heroism for the rest of us.

Seeing Ground Zero

Just weeks before 9/11, I attended a church leadership weekend in New York City. During that conference, I enjoyed the city skyline and saw the Twin Towers on the horizon, never imagining their imminent demise.

A couple of years after 9/11, our church took a bus to participate in a worship service with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. On the return trip, we drove past Ground Zero, with its immense gutted landscape. So much devastation. So much loss.

It is very sobering to see what a few fanatical terrorists can do.

Courage on United Flight 93

My wife and I went up to Pennsylvania a couple of times to see the United Flight 93 memorial. The solitude of that pastoral setting in the middle of a large field fittingly enhanced the meditative nature of the memorial, which was relatively modest when we visited. A large cross-section of America paid its respects at each of our visits.

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The resolve of the American people, especially when humbly beseeching the providence of God, is astonishing.

Let us all remember 9/11 and seek God’s salvation as we seek His will in our lives.

God bless!