Real bravery is something that not all people have. Real bravery is something that not all people know about. The armchair generals in Washington DC either do not have it, or they have lost it along the way. John Murtha and John Kerry are two that that statement applies to. Both are vets, though I feel that Mr. Kerry never had true bravery.
I found an article on a site for Mr. William Russell, who is running for Congress from the state of Pennsylvania, running against John Murtha. The page on his site: William Russell for Congress and once there, click on the link named Flight 93 Tribute, which is on the left side of the page, and the article is called Turning the tide, a Tribute to the Passengers of Flight 93. This is a stirring remembrance of what happened on September 11, 2001, by someone who was there.
Here is the story from that page:
TURNING THE TIDE…..
Tribute to the Passengers of Flight 93
I would like to pay tribute to those who gave their lives on board Flight 93, as they turned the tied in the fateful battle that occurred in the skies over New York, Washington DC and western Pennsylvania six years ago. I also want to express my deep and personal thanks to the families of those heroes as my family and I personally benefited from their bravery. Much has been written and several movies have already been made depicting the terror and b ravery of the passengers of Flight 93. I would like to focus on what they accomplished in those few minutes of exquisite bravery.
I was in the Pentagon when Flight 77 impacted the building. I was attending a meeting in office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense located on the 2nd floor of the B Ring, between the 4th and 5th Corridors. I was there as a staff officer to attend an emergency meeting to discuss military support to the civil authorities of New York City following the impacts of the two airplanes into the World Trade Center Towers. Although Flight 77 impacted the E ring between the 4th and 5th corridors, and the cockpit ended up 50 meters out and one floor down from the office I was in, I believed it had impacted on the far side of the building where my wife Kasia, who was pregnant with our son Stasiu at the time, was working in the CVS Pharmacy. I remember my boss, COL Joe Robinson, handing me a note to carry to then BG, Chiarelli and I handed it back to him and told him that I was going to CVS. As I ran around the A ring on my way to the Metro entrance concourse I was worried that I might not be able to get to Kasia and praying that she was okay, and wondering what I would do when I got there. As I arrived at the Metro entrance the Pentagon Police were busy evacuating the building and ensuring all the tourists and workers in the area got out. I met Kasia on the concourse just in front of the pharmacy. She asked me what had happened and what she should do because they were told to leave the store and to not take the time to lock the pharmacy. I told her that either a bomb or a plane had hit the building and that she should go home but that I had to stay.
I watched Kasia go down the Metro escalator after a quick kiss and ” I love you”. As I ran back towards the Army Operations Center off the end of the 7th corridor, I was haunted by the thought of a secondary device aimed at the first responders and evacuees of the from the first attack, which was a common terrorist tactic employed in Lebanon. It was seven more hours before I could confirm that Kasia had made the trip home safely by the graces and a ride from a kind lady who remains unknown.
I returned to the Army Operations Center where the staff was confirming the our communications with the National Military Command Center, Army Commands throughout the world, other government agencies and ensuring that we would not have to evacuate our section of the building.
After about two hours our communications were confirmed and there were no messages indicating other attacks outside of the Pentagon and New York. We received word that the medical personnel were running out of supplies at the triage site they had set up near the Pentagon Athletic Center off the 8th corridor of the Pentagon.
I gathered up some first aid kits and made my way out to the 8th corridor. When I arrived outside, I could see approximately 5000 people and was once again haunted by the thought of secondary attacks. In the chaos, I saw people gathered around, helping evacuate and treat the injured and many others trying to stay out of the way but wanting to help and refusing to abandon their friends and coworkers. But out of that chaos, order was slowly emerging. The medical personnel were leading the triage efforts, the injured were being transported, and a group was being organized to go back into the center court yard to assist the Arlington County Fire fighters as stretcher bearers. I passed off most of the larger items in the first aid kits to the medical personnel working on the most serious cases and treated two minor burns and cuts myself. People were using their personally owned vehicles to transport wounded to the hospitals as the ambulances were either in use or stuck in the snarled traffic.
I joined the group of stretcher bearers and we moved back into the building and down the 8th corridor to the center court yard. The stretcher bearers ranged in rank from COLs and Majors on down to junior enlisted and DoD Civilians and contractors all acting as one team to support the brave fire fighters inside the building looking for other injured and fighting the fire. The man in charge of the triage effort in the courtyard was an Air Force Lieutenant General, whose name I do not recall. But I remember him telling us the President had ordered all planes to land but there was still one plane unaccounted for and it was possibly bound for Washington.
I will not tell you that I did not feel a few moments of deep fear in the time it took to distinguish the difference between the roar of the F-16s establishing the air cap over our nation’s capital and that of another inbound jet liner.
But the only air plane sounds were coming from those F-16s and our rescue efforts continued unabated. This was because of those brave souls who, upon learning the fate of three other flights on that beautiful clear morning, determined that they would not go quietly into the night.
Call it fate or the hand of God, but it is fitting that their heroic actions which turned the tide of battle that day should take place in the skies over, and end on the ground that is Pennsylvania. This state has long been the host for many of the turning points in our history which have defined our national character.
The first turning point came during the French and Indian War in 1755 on a road, now covered by Highway 40 in Fayette County. Shortly after chastising a young volunteer Colonial Officer serving under his Command for daring to advise him on tactical practices, British General Edward Braddock found his column ambushed by the French Colonials and their native allies. After Braddock was mortally wounded, it was that young Colonial Officer by the name of George Washington who helped carry him off the field and assumed command, directing the battle and saving the British Regular and Colonial Armies from destruction.
In 1776 it was in the city of Philadelphia where our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence pledging their lives and fortunes, and sacred Honor that this nation might be free. Later that year, it was to Valley Forge where Washington led his nearly defeated and disintegrating Army into winter quarters. As he watched his Army whither while the Continental Congress dithered on whether or not to provide the necessary funding to. Soldiers who were boiling rocks and leaves for sustenance and shoeing their feet with rags. Recognizing that support for independence was declining and that the Army would disintegrate if he did not turn the tide, Washington led his Army back across the ice choked Deleware River on Christmas night to seize the Hessian Garrison at Trenton and turned the tide on the long road toward victory and full independence which came six years later.
Philadelphia again became the site of the where the course of this nation was set in 1789as the founding fathers crafted that magnificent Constitution that has given this country, still one of the youngest on the face of the Earth, what is today the oldest functioning Constitution in the world.
Seventy four years later, on a hill to south of Gettysburg, an abolitionist college professor, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, with only a year of military training was in command of the remaining soldiers of the 20th Maine, which had been devastated by disease and the carnage at Fredericksburg. The 20th Maine was located on the far left flank of the Union Forces. Minutes after arriving at their position, they withstood the first of three fierce attacks from the Texans and Alabamans commanded by John Bell Hood. After the third attack, the men of the 20th were almost completely out of ammunition. Colonel Chamberlain recognized that they could not hold off another attack, nor could he withdraw as either option would collapse the Union flank and leave the Nation’s Capital undefended. Faced with a hopeless situation, this barely trained soldier chose to order his men to fix bayonets and charge the confederate forces as they began their fourth assault. In doing so, the 20th Maine turned the tide of the battle that day, causing Lee to order Pickett’s Charge the next day. The Battle of Gettysburg became the turning point of that war which ultimately proved that a nation founded in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, could long endure.
It was on board that plane over Western Pennsylvania six years ago that a group of passengers, untrained in anti-terrorism tactics or aircraft operations, recognized the face of terror and smacked it in the nose. They could not get off the plane and they could not remain in their seats and knew that their Nation’s Capital or some other city would remain undefended. They made the decision to charge their hijackers and determined that their captors would not inflict additional harm on this nation. Whether Flight 93 was bound for the White House, the Capital Building, or the crowds of responders and evacuees at the Pentagon, those heroes turned the tide of battle that day and diverted what could have easily been the most devastating of the terrorist blows on that day.
On a very personal level, they guaranteed safe passage for my family that day. For this, my family and I extend to those heroes, and their families who had to endure their, loss our deepest gratitude.
William T Russell
Now people, isn’t that a great tribute to the brave souls who lost their life trying to stop the terrorists that day? September 11, 2001 is a memory, that I hope none of us let die.
On that morning we lost 3,000 of our citizens to a senseless attack on the American homeland, in a way that had never been done before, changing forever how we look at the ways we could be attacked. More Americans died that day than on 12/07/1941, the day that will live in infamy, the day that took us into World War II. It is for that reason alone that we should never ever forget, and not forget the weaknesses that we have, so we can fix them or shore them up, so another attack on our home soil will never happen. And the plans for these attacks are out there. Mark my words folks. We need to beware people. Be not complacent.
This week, maybe the last surviving member of the most important event of WW2 died at 92 years young. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In three days two Japanese cities were destroyed and over 150,000 men, women, and children died.
In all during WW2 nearly 300,000 US military personnel died and it’s said that over 55 million men, women and children died world wide from 1939 to August 1945. Included in this is over 6 million Jews. Remember their are some world leaders and some of your fellow Americans who refuse to admit the holocaust happened.
We may never know how many more would have died, if we hadn’t made the hard decision to bomb the Japanese into surrender. General Tibbit’s, until his death believed his mission right or wrong to many, was a mission to save lives.
Today people say we can’t use history to see the future, I and others say if we don’t, we’re destined to relive it yet again very soon.
Our President this week was called mad, because he dared to say a fight with Iran would be paramount to WW3. Personally I say we’re in WW 3 right now. This week we have senators who refuse to confirm President Bush’s choice to the cabinet post of Attorney General because he refuses to call water boarding torture.
To me ANYTHING we have to do, to prevent, one more LIFE from being forfeited, is worthy of the means of how it is gotten.
Please remember WAR IS HELL, WW2 and today’s War on Terror were brought to us, we didn’t bring it to them. They shot the first shot so to speak. As we in WW2 did not back down, hopefully we will not back down now. We will not stop fighting until we have won Victory.
God Bless America
God Bless our Troops
God Bless my readers and listeners