Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘flight 93’

Never forget, and teach those too young to remember

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2017

Sixteen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. That means most of this year’s college freshmen were two. They have no memory of what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!” They may have seen some brief video or images, but they didn’t live it. And I suspect that their parents and teachers, in many cases, didn’t spend much time on this topic.

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them. If you know such a person, share your memories from that day. Show them this post and other information about what happened and why. Maybe watch United 93 with them.

 

Sixteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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Fifteen years have passed, but we must never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2016

Fifteen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. Many millennials have no meaningful recollection of it, and apparently their parents and teachers did nothing to inform and educate them. They haven’t seen the video or images (or saw just fleeting glimpses with no context) of what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!”

That might explain (but not excuse) a mattress store advertising its “twin towers” mattress sale with a spoof in which two “towers” of mattresses collapse. Nothing can explain or excuse what Comedy Central did, as reported on Twitter by Tabitha Bliss, since apparently mature adult entertainment industry professionals approved and aired it. I refuse to view it and hope you won’t either, but here is her tweet:

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them.

But before moving on to that portion, let me suggest that you read an Esquire article by Tom Junod entitled The Falling Man. It’s about one of the most horrifying aspects of that horrifying day. It’s about something that to this day wrenches my gut and makes my eyes well up when I think about it or see images of it, and which caused me some years ago to struggle to create lyrics for a song in my head that, if I had any musical talent, would have been recorded by now. It’s about this picture, and the countless others who did what the man in it did, but perhaps not quite as well.

falling man

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Fifteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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A strange and dismal trip

Posted by Richard on April 7, 2007

In his new Townhall column, Dean Barnett compared a random collection of civilians unexpectedly facing death aboard an airliner to a group of British sailors and marines conducting military operations on a warship. The limeys don't fare so well in the comparison:

On 9/11, the passengers aboard United Flight 93 had an option – they could rely on the good intentions of their captors or they could fight back. When presented with this Hobson's choice, they responded with the words "Let's roll." Their ensuing actions were the very definition of heroism.

A few weeks ago, 15 British seamen and marines, soldiers of the Royal Navy, found themselves in a similar quandary. Belligerent Iranians had surrounded them and threatened them with both words and actions. Just as the passengers on Flight 93 had a choice, so too did the British seamen who ultimately spent a couple of weeks as hostages of the Iranian regime. Why did these soldiers, the products of military training and representatives of Her Majesty's flag, make the decision to surrender themselves? Because, according to their Captain at a Friday press conference, "Fighting back was simply not an option."

What a strange and dismal trip it has been for the Western world, going from "Let's Roll" to "Fighting Back Was Not An Option" in scarcely more than five years. One can only hope that when the history of our era is written, the former will turn out to be the immortal quote, not the latter.

Barnett acknowledged that he, as a "keyboard warrior," has slight status for criticizing those who were in harm's way. But he found strong support for his reaction from Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs. Read the whole thing. Allahpundit has the relevant video clips, along with the dispiriting news that the British Navy has ceased inspecting cargo ships bound for Iraq.

Like Barnett, I'm hesitant to criticize those in uniform from the comfort of my civilian chair. But this whole incident leaves a bad taste in my mouth — especially with the culmination that Iran is now free to smuggle its sophisticated explosives and weapons into Iraq. How is this not an abject surrender by Britain and an undeserved victory for Iran?

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2006

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11
 

On this anniversary, no words I write could match what Gerard Van der Leun wrote several months ago when United 93 came out. I described it thus:

Nothing else I’ve read comes close to Gerard Van der Leun’s Of a Fire in a Field. I first read it several days ago and was unable to even write about it. I’ve read it several times now, and the impact is still powerful. I don’t recall anything that has ever moved me more.

In the passage that moved me beyond words, and that I quote again today, Van der Leun recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim’s survivors something that they could bury.

I’m not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

As I did back in May, on this anniversary, I urge you to read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end.

The final count, apparently, is 2,626 at the WTC and 2,996 total. The latter number is also the name of a website and a fine idea for a tribute:

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers
will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives,
and not by remembering their murderers.

I really meant to sign up for this effort, but other events made me forget. Not to worry — there was no shortage of volunteers. In fact, the list is oversubscribed (more than 3400 bloggers participating), so some victims have more than one blogger paying tribute.

Here’s the entire list of links to the tributes. Take a few moments today to read just a few, won’t you?

And never forget.

First tower falls
Fleeing through the choking dust

 

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More moonbat science

Posted by Richard on July 10, 2006

Moonbat science marches on! Saturday, I posted about a couple of  "experiments" conducted by 9/11 conspiracy theorist Spooked to "prove" that airplanes didn’t bring down the WTC towers. The intrepid Instapinch, who brought those experiments to public attention, dove back into the depths of Spooked’s site and found yet another amazing experiment regarding the WTC towers. Plus an analysis of United Flight 93’s crash using pencil sketches to prove that:

None of it makes a lot of sense, but the clear thing is that THE OFFICIAL FLIGHT 93 CRASH STORY IS WRONG!

You can check out the WTC experiment at Instapinch. This experiment predates the more sophisticated — I’m not kidding — rabbit fence and concrete block model. Did I mention that this one involves coat hangers?

But don’t settle for Instapinch’s teaser about the Flight 93 theory, go read the whole thing — not for Spooked’s analysis, but for the many wonderful comments. Priceless! I laughed until tears ran down my cheeks. Here are a few samples:

Anonymous said…

and despite his "genius" at fooling the world on 9/11, Bush still couldn’t figure out a way to fake WMD stockpiles in Iraq. Go figure.

Anonymous said…

This is satire, right. Please, let it be satire. Otherwise, you need some serious help and it scares me that you’re walking around unsupervised.

Anonymous said…

I saw Condi Rice in the pilot’s cabin on that flight. She deliberately flew the plane into the ground. At the last second she leaped out of the window with a parachute. The word "Haliburton" was stenciled on the ‘chute.

Anonymous said…

The "Condi Rice in a Haliburton parachute" theory has been completely discredited.

We now know that after shooting Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby was cryogenically frozen, cloned, and stored in Rumsefeld’s basement until being thawed out and used to fly the planes into the WTC, etc. If you want I can draw you a picture.

Johnny Drama said…

I’ve only one question.

Is this sort of stupidity the result of public school or lead-based paint chips?

Anonymous said…

Liberal…
its not what it used to be

John from WuzzaDem said…

Hopefully, My Last Analysis of the Flight 93 Crash

I think I speak for everyone when I say:

"Please please please please post just one more!"

(Note: The Instapinch post has some pretty good comments, too.)

The humor value of this stuff is undeniable. But, as Instapinch noted, there’s another reason to link to such material:

Without beating a dead horse here …, this sort of idiocy needs to see the light of day. It needs to see that light to show people how unhinged – how simply out of touch with the real world some of the lefty-whack jobs are. Reason and common sense are not given a back seat in these people’s worlds, they are strapped into an ejection seat and are *gone*.

It’s not just Spooked and all the total whack jobs that he shares links and ideas with. A significant portion of the left, while not True Believers, are sympathetic to the conspiracy theorists and/or "agnostic" about who brought down the WTC towers. At the DailyKos comment that Instapinch linked, Socratic joined the laughter and took a bit of a swipe at DU. But Carolita immediately came to DU’s defense:

Don’t you think the 101 comments refuting this "experiment" constitute an adequate response? Unlike the right-wing blogs, DU doesn’t rewrite history and selectively remove a post from 2005 "just in case" some wingnut might see it. And it is hardly any surpise that instapinch.com would selectively point to a posted comment as if it were an official position of the web site and conveniently forget that a multitude of commentors wrote in to refute it.

Well, each of those three sentences is bogus. First, DU removes posts all the time (it’s not secretive; they’re marked "Message removed by moderator"), including several in the Spooked experiment thread. Second, the 101 comments at the time Carolita wrote (it’s now over 280) were absolutely not all refuting the experiment. I don’t think even half of them were negative (note: there were far fewer than a hundred commenters because there was much "dialog"). There certainly wasn’t a "multitude" refuting it. Some commenters were supportive of a 9/11 conspiracy; some were "open-minded"; some were skeptical of Spooked’s experiment, but in a friendly way. I remember at least one commenter praised Spooked for trying so hard and encouraged him to refine his experiment further — I pegged that one as a schoolteacher.

Only a couple or three commenters (before the recent flood of non-DU sightseers) completely rejected the notion of a 9/11 conspiracy and ridiculed Spooked’s experiment. And they had to fend off repeated attacks and challenges from an equal number of hard-core supporters.

Across a wide swath of the American Left extending deep into the Democratic base, the question of who’s responsible for the 9/11 attacks — al-Qaeda, the U.S. government, or Israel — is open to debate.

All this "moonbat science" is pretty damned funny. But it’s also sad. And a bit disturbing, when you think about it.

UPDATE: Moonbats rule in academia.
 

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United 93 is outstanding

Posted by Richard on May 22, 2006

I finally saw United 93 this evening. It’s every bit as good as the most laudatory reviews said it was. Maybe better. I won’t even attempt a detailed review — there are plenty of those available. I just want to make one important point and then mention a couple of things that really struck me.

My important point is this: Some viewers and reviewers have said that this is a difficult — even painful — film to watch, and I suspect many people are reluctant to go see it as a result. Frankly, it did leave me somewhat drained. But it also left me feeling very, very good. As Peter Travers said in his Rolling Stone review, "This is the best of us."

As a point of comparison, think of Schindler’s List — a serious, emotionally wrenching experience to be sure, but aren’t you glad you saw it? Wasn’t it really life-affirming, ennobling, uplifting?

United 93 is all those things and then some. I’m in awe of writer/director Paul Greengrass and the cast, and I’m profoundly grateful to them and to the people at Universal Studios who made this wonderful film possible.

One line in the film that really struck me: Shortly after take-off, Capt. Dahl announced that (quoting from memory), "As we make this turn, those of you on the left side of the cabin will get a beautiful view of lower Manhattan and the New York skyline." Since there are no surviving witnesses, I assume that this statement was invented by Greengrass, but depending on direction of takeoff and flight plan, it’s plausible.

It’s also a brilliant and poignant bit of foreshadowing. Only a few minutes later, American Flight 11 hit the World Trade Center, changing lower Manhattan and the New York skyline forever; the passengers on United 93 may have been among the last people to see the twin towers in all their glory. Somehow, that seems appropriate, and I hope it’s true.

Something else that struck me: I knew from reviews that some air traffic controllers played themselves; I didn’t realize until the credits how many. We all knew the basic story of what happened on the plane, but most of us had no idea what happened on the ground. The scenes at the various civilian and military ATC centers were powerful and riveting. One especially powerful scene showed the controllers in the Newark tower, just a few miles southwest of the World Trade Center, staring at it in shock and disbelief after the first plane hit.

I can’t urge you strongly enough to go see this film. You owe it to yourself. And to Paul Greengrass and the cast. And most of all, to the heroes on United 93.

But go see it soon. I was shocked by how few screens it’s on (half the Denver area cineplexes aren’t showing it), and there were only two or three dozen people at the showing I saw. See it on a big screen before it’s gone. You’ll be very glad you did.
 

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Smoke and dust and heroism

Posted by Richard on May 4, 2006

I haven’t seen United 93 yet. Soon, maybe. I’ve read quite a few of the reviews and comments, and everything I’ve read suggests it’s as fine a film as I’d hoped it would be.

Nothing else I’ve read comes close to Gerard Van der Leun’s Of a Fire in a Field. I first read it several days ago and was unable to even write about it. I’ve read it several times now, and the impact is still powerful. I don’t recall anything that has ever moved me more.

It’s about United 93, but Van der Leun began by recalling 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York. He’s a fine writer whose words often paint evocative images; but I can’t find adjectives adequate to describe this passage:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim’s survivors something that they could bury.

I’m not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Every time I read that, my eyes well up and my breathing becomes labored. It’s as if there’s a weight on my chest.

Van der Leun went on to describe the "ordinary courage" of the New York police and firemen who went up into the twin towers to rescue those trapped on 9/11, and then he connected it to the courage exhibited in the sky above Pennsylvania that day:

To this day, those men who went up those stairs exist in my mind as starlight, beyond my capacity to comprehend — only to honor. But I went to a few of their funerals and so I know, if only slightly, the human face and the life and the families of about a dozen.

Far above and away to the west on that day, there was as we knew, and now as we have seen, another group of American men and women who, when they found out what was happening and what was to be their likely fate, also took that fate in their own hands and came on, fighting to thwart or reverse that fate, until the last moment of their lives. Ordinary people in an extraordinary situation finding the ordinary courage to resist and to fight against the evil that appeared among them.

That’s the theme and the pace and the action of "United 93:" How ordinary people, at first strangers to each other, found the courage to act together in the face of certain death.

Despite the whines and the cavils of the weak and the vile and the corrupt among us, "United 93" has no "message."

Despite the rising and continuing attempts to cheapen the film from the spiritually and politically bankrupt that batten off America, "United 93" has no politics.

You don’t "review" this film if you have an ounce of soul left to you. You watch it.

"United 93," from the first frame to the last, simply and clearly lets you see what happened high in the air on that day. It is, as the phrase on the poster says, "The plane that did not reach its target." Instead, it reached something unintended and much higher. It became and will remain a legend; an integral part of the tapestry of the American myth from which we all draw what strength remains to us, and, in the future, will surely need to draw upon even more deeply. Like the best of our legends, it arises out of our ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Go read the whole thing. Van der Leun has outdone himself with this essay. And at the end, he has a question for you.

Of a Fire in a Field has been nominated — along with another Van der Leun post — for best non-council post by members of the Watcher’s Council. On Friday, the Watcher will post the results of the voting. I haven’t read most of the other nominated posts, but I can’t imagine this one not winning. It’s simply in a class by itself.
 

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