Flight 93

Trump pays tribute to 9/11 victims and heroes in Shanksville: ‘When America fought back’

President Trump, at a hushed ceremony in Shanksville, Pa., paid “solemn tribute” to the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93 who “stood up and defied the enemy” 17 years ago. The president and first lady Melania Trump visited the hallowed site Tuesday to commemorate the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. They spoke after a new memorial to the victims was dedicated over the weekend. “On September 11, 2001, a band of brave patriots turned the tide on our nation’s enemies and joined the immortal ranks of American heroes,” the president said. “At this memorial, on this sacred earth, in the field beyond this wall, and in the skies above our heads, we remember the moment when America fought back.” The 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93 are believed to have prevented a larger attack by fighting back against the terrorists who hijacked the plane. The field in Shanksville, Pa. where the plane crashed, is just a 20-minute flight from the U.S. Capitol. Trump, in a passionate address, honored the lives lost and their families, saying that their “tears are not shed alone, for they are shared grief with an entire nation.” “We honor their sacrifice by pledging to never flinch in the face of evil and to do whatever it takes to keep America safe,” Trump said. The president recalled the story of that day—passengers and crewmembers placing “their final calls home, whispering those eternal words, ‘I love you.’” “They bravely charged the cockpit. They attacked the enemy. They fought until the very end. And they stopped the forces of terror and defeated this wicked, horrible, evil plan,” Trump said. “Through their sacrifice, the 40 saved the lives of countless Americans and they saved our Capitol from a devastating strike.” Trump called the field a “monument to American defiance,” with the new memorial sharing a “message to the world—America will never submit to tyranny.” “As commander in chief, I will always do everything in my power to prevent terrorists from striking American soil,” Trump said. “17 years ago, 40 incredible men and women showed the whole world that no force on earth will ever conquer the American spirit …We treasure their memory and legacy.” The new Shanksville memorial is called “The Tower of Voices,” which stands 93 feet tall. The tower holds 40 wind chimes to honor the 40 victims of Flight 93. Vice President Pence, who visited Shanksville last year, on Tuesday presided over a ceremony at the Pentagon, delivering a tearful address and acknowledging that approximately one quarter of the U.S. population was born after the 9/11 attacks 17 years ago. “We gather here today to reflect on what we remember, to remember the fallen, their families and the heroes that day. But be assured, we also gather here to ensure that each succeeding generation knows the story of what happened that dark day, and understands why,” Pence said. “We must learn the lessons of September 11, and remain ever vigilant in the defense of our nation and our people.” The vice president added that the terrorists who carried out the attacks “sought not just to take the lives of our people and crumble our buildings, but they hoped to take our spirit.” “They failed,” Pence said. Pence touted the administration’s efforts to strengthen the military, offering “renewed support” to the armed forces. “We overcome every challenge, we triumph over every evil, and we remain united as one nation, under God,” Pence said, concluding with a delivery of the Irish Prayer. Trump on Tuesday also signed a proclamation designating Sept. 11, 2018 “Patriot Day 2018” in honor of the victims from the tragic terror attacks nearly two decades ago, and “every hero who has given their life since that day to protect our safety.” Trump retweeted the full statement shared by White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino Jr., tweeting: “#NeverForget #September11th.” The proclamation, which was signed on the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, honors “the memories of the souls we lost,” and pays “tribute to all of the patriots who have sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom.” “On Patriot Day, we honor the memories of the nearly 3,000 precious lives we lost on September 11, 2001, and every hero who has given their life since that day to protect our safety and our freedom,” the proclamation says. “We come together, today, to recall this timeless truth: When America is united, no force on Earth can break us apart. Our values endure; our people thrive; our Nation prevails; and the memory of our loved ones never fades.” The statement details how “that fateful Tuesday … erupted into horror and anguish when radical Islamist terrorists carried out an unprecedented attack on hour homeland.” “Through the dust and ashes, we emerged resilient and united—bruised but not broken,” the statement says. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also tweeted early Tuesday touting America’s resilience: “17 yrs ago, we received a terrible reminder of the evil in our world. In the midst of horrific tragedy America stood strong. We will never be the same, but we will always resilient. Today we honor the memory of those who died, and those who keep us safe. #NeverForget”

And we never will..  As someone who served as a “field grade” Army (Military Intelligence) officer in Afghanistan several years ago, this day means a lot to me and my brothers and sisters I’ve had the honor of serving with “down range.”…and serves as a grim reminder of why we must remain ever vigilant and NEVER let our guard down.  We have to be vigilant ALL the time.  The terrorists just need to get it right once..

Dana Perino: We must never forget the faith and patriotism of those on Flight 93

Flying to Pittsburgh Thursday morning, I rested my head on the scratchy airline pillow and closed my eyes. It was an early flight after a late night, and I could have used another hour’s sleep, yet I couldn’t rest. Every time I closed my eyes, I pictured what the passengers and crew of Flight 93 went through fifteen years ago on September 11th. I imagined a flight much like the one I was on — quiet, routine, some passengers reading, some working on their laptops until the very last second before the cabin door closes. None of them suspecting that they would die in an hour. I have a fascination with Flight 93. My emotions are mixed: awe; gratitude; fear; heartache; pride; even, in some ways, guilt. In all the years I worked at the White House, my schedule never coincided with a trip to the memorial site. An assignment for “The Five” on Fox News Channel changed that for me this year. The Flight 93 Memorial isn’t that easy to get to. It isn’t like the memorials in New York City or Washington, D.C., where you may go on a business trip or family vacation. No, in order to get to Shanksville, PA, you fly to Pittsburgh, make your way through the traffic and onto the highway that takes you through the beautiful wooded countryside. As you drive up the road to the site, you see Americana at its finest — the local diner, the auto repair shop, the Rotary club, the schoolhouse. And everywhere, American flags. It is quiet. A nice place to raise a family. The locals certainly never expected to be home to the site of the first battle won in the war on terror, but they do it with great care and are proud to do so. I encourage everyone to make the trip. It is important. And it is worth it. The memorial starts off on the flight path. As you walk, you can see markings of the planes plowing into the Twin Towers. And then, huddled in the back of Flight 93, the passengers learn of the plane that hit the Pentagon. And they realized that the hijackers were lying to them — they weren’t going back to an airport. In just minutes, these passengers accepted their duty and made a plan. In an act of defiance against the terrorists who hated their way of life, the passengers held a vote (I love to imagine what that was like). They decided to try to wrest back control of the plane instead of being used as a weapon against their own people. In those next few minutes, several passengers made phone calls to loved ones; three of those calls were recorded, and you can listen to them at the visitors’ center at the memorial. I braced myself when I picked up the handset. They sounded so calm — their worries not for themselves, but rather for the loved ones they believed they may never see again. Go listen to those calls to better understand the story. Let yourself cry. It helps. After the calls, the passengers come together in prayer. Bounded by their faith and their patriotism, they defied the terrorists and ultimately lost their lives. But they saved countless others. Experts believe the plane was headed to the U.S. Capitol, where I first worked after graduate school and many of my friends still worked there at the time. Still do, actually. I love that building and lived near it for many years. It is the symbol of freedom and democracy for people all over the world. At the impact site, I spoke to Kenny Nacke whose brother Louis died on the flight. Louis would have been 57 on Friday, September 9. Kenny is a Baltimore City police officer — a strong man with a killer handshake that left me shaking my hand for about an hour after we met. But when we spoke of his brother, he let down his tough exterior and showed me the raw grief that he still walks with every day. Before the interview, he told me he’d be fine, that he’d shed his last tear. Within two minutes, he and I were holding each other up and could barely speak. The victims of the other three flights had no chance to fight back because they didn’t know what was happening. The passengers of Flight 93 barely had time to process the news, but they acted swiftly. They were brave. And selfless. In that decision, they inspired a generation into public service and as Park Ranger Robert Franz told me, it’s our duty to keep telling the story because one day we’ll be gone. And this story needs to be told. -Dana Perino currently serves as co-host of FOX News Channel’s “The Five” (weekdays 5-6PM/ET). She previously served as Press Secretary for President George W. Bush. She is the author of the new book “And the Good News Is…: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side” (Twelve, April 21, 2015). Ms. Perino joined the network in 2009 as a contributor. Follow her on Twitter@DanaPerino

Thanks Dana..