When Terror Hit Home
20 years after 9/11
(Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Passenger Revolt Over Shanksville
(Associated Press)

Late departure

United Airlines Flight 93 took off late from Newark, N.J., at 8:42 a.m. Sept. 11, 2001, bound non-stop for San Francisco. Heavy airport traffic delayed takeoff by more than 25 minutes.

Thirty-three passengers and seven crew members were aboard, hardly enough to fill the Boeing 757, which could seat 182 people.

Captain Morrie Wiener, the next to the last pilot of Flight 93, standing in front of the airplane in an undated photo. (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial / Wiener)

Who was on board

The passengers were flying for many reasons. See full description of passengers and crew.

Source: National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial

    Christian Adams, 37, of Germany, seat 17D, deputy director of the German Wine Insitute, was headed to an event promoting German wines.

    Todd M. Beamer, 32, of Cranberry, N.J., seat 10D, an account manager of Oracle Corp., was going on a one-day business trip.

    Alan Anthony Beaven, 48, of Oakdale, Calif., seat 17F, an attorney, was going to handle a last case in California before going to live in India for a year with his wife and young daughter.

    Mark Bingham, 31, of San Francisco, seat 4D, owner of a public relations firm The Bingham Group, was heading home. He had recently set up a new office on the East Coast. He overslept and nearly missed the flight, boarding last.

    Deora Frances Bodley, 20, of San Diego, seat 20F, a junior at Santa Clara University, was flying home after visiting friends in New Jersey.

    Marion R. Britton, 53, of Brooklyn, N.Y., seat 12B, assistant regional director of the U.S. Census Bureau, was flying with colleague Waleska Martinez to a work conference.

    Thomas E. Burnett Jr., 38, of San Ramon, Calif., seat 4B, senior vice president and CEO of Thoratec Corp., was returning home after six weeks of business travel. His company makes heart pumps for people awaiting transplants.

    William Joseph Cashman, 60, of West New York, N.J., seat 15D, ironworker, was traveling with friend Patrick Joseph Driscoll, to go hiking in Yosemite National Park. He helped build the World Trade Center.

    Georgine Rose Corrigan, 55, of Honolulu, seat 12D, an antiques and collectibles dealer, was flying home after a buying trip and a visit with her brother.

    Patricia Cushing, 69, of Bayonne, N.J., seat 19C, a retired service representative from New Jersey Bell Telephone, was traveling with her sister-in-law Jane Folger to visit San Francisco for the first time, a trip they had been planning for months.

    Joseph DeLuca, 52, of Succasunna, N.J., seat 2B, a computer software system designer with Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, was with his girlfriend, Linda Gronlund, heading to vacation in the wine country of Napa Valley.

    Patrick Joseph "Joe" Driscoll, 70, of Manalapan, N.J., seat 15C, a retired executive director of software development with Bell Communications, was heading to a hiking vacation with friend William Cashman.

    Edward Porter Felt, 41, of Matawan, N.J., seat 2D, a computer engineer and technology director with BEA Systems, was going on a last-minute business trip.

    Jane C. Folger, 73, of Bayonne, N.J., seat 19B, a retired bank officer, was flying to San Francisco with her sister-in-law Patricia Cushing for a long-planned sightseeing trip to San Francisco.

    Colleen L. Fraser, 51, of Elizabeth, N.J., seat 13A, executive director of Progressive Center for Independent Living, was traveling to a seminar.

    Andrew "Sonny" Garcia, 62, seat 20C, of Portola Valley, Calif., owner of Cinco Group Inc., an industrial products supply business, was returning home from a business meeting.

    Jeremy Logan Glick, 31, of Hewitt, N.J., seat 11A, a sales manager with Vividence Inc., was traveling for business.

    Kristin Osterholm White Gould, 65, of New York, N.Y., seat 21C, a medical journalist, was going to visit with friends in California.

    Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, 38, of San Rafael, Calif., seat 11D, a consultant and writer, was coming home from her grandmother's funeral in New Jersey.

    Donald Freeman Greene, 52, of Greenwich, Conn., seat 16D, executive vice president and CFO of Safe Flight, which makes airplane safety products, was going to join his brothers on a hiking and biking trip.

    Linda Gronlund, 46, of Greenwood Lake, N.Y., seat 2A, manager of environmental compliance with BMW North America, was traveling with her boyfriend, Joe DeLuca, to celebrate her birthday in California's wine country.

    Richard J. Guadagno, 38, of Eureka, Calif., seat 19A, a project manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was coming home after celebrating his grandmother's 100th birthday in New Jersey.

    Toshiya Kuge, 20, of Osaka, Japan, seat 18A, an engineering student and football linebacker at Waseda University in Japan, was heading home after a two-week visit to America, where he hoped eventually to attend graduate school.

    Hilda Marcin, 79, of Mount Olive, N.J., seat 17C, a retired bookkeeper and teacher's aide for special needs children, was traveling to live with her daughter for the winter.

    Waleska Martinez, 37, of Jersey City, N.J., seat 10F, an automation specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, was headed to a conference in San Francisco with her co-worker Marion Britton.

    Nicole Carol Miller, 21, of San Jose, Calif., seat 10A, a student at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif., was heading home after a vacation. She was supposed to have gone home Sept. 10, but a storm forced her to to reschedule her flight.

    Louis J. Nacke II, 42, of New Hope, Pa., seat 12F, a distribution center director for Kay-Bee Toys, was on a one-day, last-minute business trip.

    Donald Arthur Peterson, 66, of Spring Lake, N.J., seat 14A, a retired Continental Electric Co. president, was headed to vacation with his wife to Yosemite National Park.

    Jean Hoadley Peterson, 55, of Spring Lake, N.J., seat 14C, a retired registered nurse, was going on vacation with her husband to Yosemite National Park.

    Mark David Rothenberg, 52, of Scotch Plains, N.J., seat 5B, the owner of MDR Global Resources importing business, was on the first leg of a business trip to Taiwan.

    Christine Ann Snyder, 32, of Kailua, Hawaii, seat 17A, a project manager and arborist for The Outdoor Circle, was returning home after a conference in Washington, D.C., and a first-time visit to New York.

    John Talignani, 74, of Staten Island, N.Y., seat 18F, a retired bartender, was traveling to the funeral of his stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, who were killed in a car accident during their honeymoon.

    Honor Elizabeth Wainio, 27, of Baltimore, seat 11F, a district manager with Discovery Channel Stores, was headed to a company-wide business meeting.

Also aboard were the crew:

    Jason M. Dahl, 43, captain, of Littleton, Colo.

    LeRoy Homer, 36, first officer, of Marlton, N.J.

    Lorraine G. Bay, 58, of East Windsor, N.J., flight attendant

    Sandy Waugh Bradshaw, 38, of Greensboro, N.C., flight attendant

    Wanda Anita Green, 49, of Linden, N.J., flight attendant

    CeeCee Ross Lyles, 33, of Fort Pierce, Fla., flight attendant

    Deborah Jacobs Welsh, 49, of New York, N.Y., flight attendant

Hijackers on board

Unknown to the crew and passengers, four radical Islamist terrorists were also on board in first class, most in aisle seats.

Ziad Samir Jarrah, 26
Saeed Al Ghamdi, 21
Ahmad Ibrahim Al Haznawi, 20
Ahmed Al Nami, 23
Source: National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial

The passengers were flying for many reasons. See full description of passengers and crew.

Also aboard were the crew:

Unknown to the crew and passengers, four radical Islamist terrorists were also on board in first class, most in aisle seats.

Ziad Samir Jarrah, 26
Saeed Al Ghamdi, 21
Ahmad Ibrahim Al Haznawi, 20
Ahmed Al Nami, 23

While the plane was in air, terrorists hijacked three other passenger airliners in coordinated attacks.

8:46 a.m.: The terrorists deliberately crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing all 92 people aboard.

(Associated Press)

9:03 a.m.: The terrorists smashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the south tower of the World Trade Center, killing all 65 aboard. The south tower collapsed at 9:59 a.m. and the north tower at 10:28 a.m., killing an additional 2,606 in and around them.

(Getty Images)

9:37 a.m.: The hijackers rammed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing another 125 on the ground and 64 inside the airliner.

(Associated Press)

Capt. Jason M. Dahl (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial)

First Officer LeRoy Homer (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial)
Capt. Jason M. Dahl (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial)
First Officer LeRoy Homer (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial)

The attack: 9:28 a.m.

Air Traffic Control in Cleveland heard the pilot and first officer of Flight 93 calling for help.

Cleveland Air Traffic Center Controller: United 93, that traffic for you is one o'clock, 12 miles eastbound, three seven zero.

United Airlines 93: Negative contact, we’re looking, United ninety three.

UA93: Mayday! Yeah. (indistinct yelling) Mayday! (indistinct)

Cleveland Center Controller: Somebody call Cleveland?

American Airlines 1060: Roger, American, ah, 1060, with you. We’re at three seven oh, we’re, ah, slowing, ah, due to the delays if possible going eastbound.

Cleveland Center Controller: That’s American 1060?

UA93: Mayday! Mayday! Get outta here! Mayday! We're gonna die in here!

Cleveland Center Controller: You got United 93?

Cleveland Center Controller 2: United 93, south of Chardon, descended.

Cleveland Center Controller: What’s that?

Cleveland Center Controller 2: I just sayin’ it looks like he descended there.

Cleveland Center Controller: I don’t think so. United 93, verify three five zero.

Cleveland Center Controller 2: United 93, Cleveland.

Cleveland Center: Go ahead (indistinct).

Cleveland Center Controller 2: Do you have United 93 south of Chardon?

Cleveland Center: We hear some funny noises. We’re trying to get him. Do you have him?

Cleveland Center Controller 2: No.

Cleveland Center: Thank You. United 93, Cleveland.

Cleveland Center Controller: United 1523, did you hear your company, ah, did you hear, ah, some interference on the frequency, ah, couple a minutes ago, screaming?

United 1523: Yes, I did, seven ninety seven and, ah, we couldn’t tell what it was either.

Cleveland Center Controller: OK. United 93, Cleveland, if you hear the center, ident.

AA1060: American 1060. Ditto on the other transmissions.

Cleveland Center Controller: American 1060, you heard that also?

AA1060: Yes, sir. Twice.

Cleveland Center Controller: Roger, we heard that also, thanks. Just wanted to confirm it wasn’t some interference.

A hairpin turn — toward Washington, D.C.

Assumed takeover point Possible point of passenger uprising

After the terrorists took over Flight 93, they turned the plane toward Washington, D.C. Officials believe they intended to strike whatever target seemed most feasible once they arrived over the city. They could have hit the Capitol, where Congress was in session, or the White House.

Ziad Samir Jarrah (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial/ FBI)
Ziad Samir Jarrah (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial/ FBI)

The terrorist pilot gives false assurance, 9:32 a.m.

Lead terrorist Ziad Jarrah took over as captain of the plane. He wanted to make an announcement to the passengers, but pressed the wrong button and spoke to Air Traffic Control by mistake.

Ziad Jarrah: Ladies and gentlemen here. (indistinct) please sit down and remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board, so sit.

Cleveland Center: Ah, calling Cleveland Center, you are unreadable. Say again slowly.

He repeats his statements, 9:39 a.m.

Thomas E. Burnett Jr. (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial)
Thomas E. Burnett Jr. (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial/ FBI)

‘Oh, my God. It’s a suicide mission’

Passenger Thomas Burnett Jr. called his wife, Deena, four times. Excerpts from his calls as remembered by his wife:

First call

Deena: Tom, are you OK?

Tom: No, I’m not. I’m on an airplane that has been hijacked.

Deena: Hijacked?

Tom: Yes, They just knifed a guy.

Second call

Tom: They’re in the cockpit. The guy they knifed is dead.

Deena: He’s dead?

Tom: Yes. I tried to help him, but I couldn’t get a pulse.

Deena: Tom, they are hijacking planes all up and down the East Coast. They are taking them and hitting designated targets. They’ve already hit both towers of the World Trade Center.

Tom: They’re talking about crashing this plane. (a pause) Oh, my God. It’s a suicide mission. (He then tells people sitting around him.)

Third call

Tom: ... What is the probability of their having a bomb on board? I don’t think they have one. I think they’re just telling us that for crowd control. ...

Tom: They’re talking about crashing this plane into the ground. We have to do something. I’m putting a plan together.

Deena: Who’s helping you?

Tom: Different people. Several people. There’s a group of us. Don’t worry. I’ll call you back.

Fourth call

Tom: Good. (A long, quiet pause) We’re waiting until we’re over a rural area. We’re going to take back the airplane.

Deena: No! Sit down, be still, be quiet, and don’t draw attention to yourself! (This is what she was taught to say during her Delta Airlines flight attendant training).

Tom: Deena! If they’re going to crash this plane into the ground, we’re going to have do something!

Deena: What about the authorities?

Tom: We can’t wait for the authorities. I don’t know what they could do anyway. It’s up to us. I think we can do it. ... Don’t worry, we’re going to do something.

— From the Tom Burnett Family Foundation

Jeremy Logan Glick (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial/ FBI)

‘You need to do it’

Jeremy Glick called his wife, Lyzbeth, more than once. Exerpts from his calls as remembered by his wife:

Jeremy: My plane’s been hijacked by some very bad people. There are three men. They’re wearing red head bands ... and one guy has something strapped to him that he says is a bomb.

Lyzbeth: ... No, I think it’s a bluff. I don’t really think it’s a bomb.

Jeremy: ... (Says there are three other passengers as big as he is and they are going to take a vote on whether to attack the hijackers. Does she think it’s a good idea?)

Lyzbeth: I think you need to do it.

Jeremy: OK. We’re going to do it. I’m going to put the phone down and I’m going to come right back. I love you.

— From an oral history with the Flight 93 Memorial

Todd M. Beamer (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial/ FBI)

‘Let’s roll’

Todd Beamer called a telephone operator on one of the Verizon Airfones provided on the backs of the plane seats. They spoke for about 15 minutes. Exerpts from the operator, Lisa Jefferson's, recollection:

“He told me that they had a plan. They were getting together to make a plan and they were going to jump the guy with the bomb and [he asked] how did I feel about it. And I was kind of hesitant because I’m thinking, ‘That’s pretty dangerous,’ and I really didn’t respond right away.”

Todd: But think about it. At this point, I don’t have much of a choice and I’m going to have to go out on my faith.

They spoke for another 15 minutes or so, then Todd turned to someone else in the plane.

Todd: Are you ready? (People responded.) OK. Let’s roll.

— From an oral history with the Flight 93 Memorial

Honor Elizabeth Wainio (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial/ FBI)

‘I have to go’

Honor Elizabeth “Lizz” Wainio spoke with her stepmother, Esther.

Lizz: They’re getting ready to break into the cockpit. I have to go. I love you. Good-bye.

— From the Flight 93 Memorial

Sandy Waugh Bradshaw (Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial/ FBI)

‘Everyone’s running to first class’

Flight attendant Sandy Waugh Bradshaw spoke with her husband, Phil, and said people were boiling water to throw at the terrorists.

Sandy: Phil, everyone’s running to first class. I’ve got to go. Bye.

— From an oral history with the Flight 93 Memorial

Rocking the plane, 10 a.m.

The hijackers began rocking the plane from side to side and up and down, possibly to throw the attacking passengers off balance.

Air Traffic Control Command Center, Herndon, Va.: United 93...

Federal Aviation Administration Headquarters: Yes?

Herndon Center: ...was waving his wings as he went past the V, the VFR aircraft, they don’t quite know what that means. Rockin’ his ring, wings.


From the transcript of the flight’s voice recorder. Words in gray were spoken in Arabic:

09:57:55 - Is there something?

09:57:57 - A fight?

09:54:59 - Yeah?

09:58:33 - (Unintelligible) Let's go, guys. Allah is greatest. Allah is greatest. Oh, guys. Allah is greatest.

09:58:41 - Ugh.

09:58:43 - Ugh.

09:58:44 - Oh, Allah. Oh, Allah. Oh, the most gracious.

09:58:47 - Ugh. Ugh.

09:58:52 - Stay back.

09:58:55 - In the cockpit.

09:58:57 - In the cockpit.

09:58:57 - They want to get in here. Hold, hold from the inside. Hold from the inside. Hold.

09:59:04 - Hold the door.

09:59:09 - Stop him.

09:59:11 - Sit down.

09:59:13 - Sit down.

09:59:15 - Sit down.

09:58:16 - (Unintelligible)

09:59:17 - What?

09:59:18 - There are some guys. All those guys.

09:59:20 - Let’s get them.

09:59:25 - Sit down.

09:59:29 - What?

09:59:30 - What.

09:59:31 - What?

09:59:36 - (Unintelligible)

09:59:37 - What?

09:59:39 - (Unintelligible)

09:59:41 - (Unintelligible)

09:59:42 - Trust in Allah, and in him.

09:59:45 - Sit down.

09:59:47 - (Unintelligible)

09:59:53 - Ahh.

09:59:55 - (Unintelligible)

09:59:58 - Ahh.

10:00:06 - There is nothing.

10:00:07 - Is that it? Shall we finish it off?

10:00:08 - No. Not yet.

10:00:09 - When they all come, we finish it off.

10:00:11 - There is nothing.

10:00:13 - (Unintelligible)

10:00:14 - Ahh.

10:00:15 - I’m injured.

10:00:16 - (Unintelligible)

10:00:21 - Ahh.

10:00:22 - Oh, Allah. Oh, Allah. Oh, Gracious.

10:00:25 - In the cockpit. If we don’t, we’ll die.

10:00:29 - Up, down. Up, down, in the cockpit.

10:00:33 - The cockpit.

10:00:37 - Up, down. Saeed, up, down.

10:00:42 - Roll it.

10:00:55 - (Unintelligible)

10:00:59 - Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest.

10:01:01 - (Unintelligible)

10:01:08 - Is that it? I mean, shall we pull it down?

10:01:09 - Yes, put it in it, and pull it down.

10:01:10 - (Unintelligible)

10:01:11 - Saeed.

10:01:12 - ... engine ...

10:01:13 - (Unintelligible)

10:01:16 - Cut off the oxygen.

10:01:18 - Cut off the oxygen. Cut off the oxygen. Cut off the oxygen.

10:01:34 - (Unintelligible)

10:01:37 - (Unintelligible)

10:01:41 - Up, down. Up, down.

10:01:41 - What?

10:01:42 - Up, down.

10:01:42 - Ahh.

10:01:53 - Ahh.

10:01:54 - (Unintelligible)

10:01:55 - Ahh.

10:01:59 - Shut them off.

10:02:03 - Shut them off.

10:02:14 - Go.

10:02:14 - Go.

10:02:15 - Move.

10:02:16 - Move.

10:02:17 - Turn it up.

10:02:18 - Down, down.

10:02:23 - Pull it down. Pull it down.

10:02:25 - Down. Push, push, push, push, push.

10:02:33 - Hey. Hey. Give it to me. Give it to me.

10:02:35 - Give it to me. Give it to me. Give it to me.

10:02:37 - Give it to me. Give it to me. Give it to me.

10:02:40 - (Unintelligible)

10:03:02 - Allah is the greatest.

10:03:03 - Allah is the greatest.

10:03:04 - Allah is the greatest.

10:03:06 - Allah is the greatest.

10:03;06 - Allah is the greatest.

10:03:07 - No.

10:03:09 - Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest.

10:03:09 - Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest.


10:03 a.m.: Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Stonycreek Township, in Somerset County.

Everyone on board was killed.

Local resident David Berkebile happened to have his video camera on hand when the plane struck the ground, causing a tremendous shudder and a fireball.

(Courtesy of the National Park Service / Flight 93 National Memorial / D. Berkebile)
(Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)


Design / Development
Laura Malt Schneiderman

Ed Yozwick
James Hilston

Steve Mellon

Special thanks:
Elizabeth Keene, curator, National Park Service, Flight 93 National Memorial

Source of audio tapes: Rutgers Law Review