No Greater Love: The Story of Flight 93; Stories of how passengers resisted terrorists told by victims' families
NO GREATER LOVE: THE STORY OF FLIGHT 93
"There is no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends."
Announcer: Here now is Jane Pauley.
JANE PAULEY: Good evening. What do we owe the ones whose lives were lost in the evil of September 11th but to bare witness? We've heard many and miraculous tales of survival. Tonight, a story that American history will record as a unique and important display of courage. It's the story of United Flight 93, the Newark to San Francisco flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. It was the last of four hijacked planes to go down. The terrorist mission that failed. For the past three weeks, individual stories have been told about the brave passengers and crew aboard Flight 93. Tonight, the whole inspirational story of the men and women who laid down their lives. Young and old, strong of body or heart, clear-headed in a crisis and indeed united at the end.
Unidentified Radio Announcer: We're looking a high of 80 today, so a nice one. Good day to get out. Seventy-eight tomorrow...
PAULEY: (Voiceover) It was a memorably beautiful morning September 11th, the kind of day that puts people in a good mood. As passengers arrived at gate 17 at Newark Airport's terminal A, they might have been especially pleased to find that United Flight 93, with 182 seats, was mostly empty. With only 37 ticketed passengers, there'd be plenty of room to stretch out on a long trip. And some of the passengers were pretty big guys. Mark Bingham was a rugby player.
(Newark Airport sign; terminal sign; inside of plane; photo of Mark Bingham)
Ms. ALICE HOGLAN: He is powerful. He's six foot five, a big, physically fit guy.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) So was Jeremy Glick, a six-footer.
(Photo of Jeremy Glick)
Unidentified Woman #1: He was like a giant teddy bear. You just fell into his arms and wanted to stay there forever.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) And Lou Nacke, only 5'9", but 200 pounds of muscle. He was a weight-lifter with a Superman tattoo on his shoulder.
(Photo of Lou Nacke)
Unidentified Woman #2: When he was a little boy, he loved Superman. And he'd actually had a cape on and went through a glass window pretending to be Superman.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Who knew they'd all need to be supermen and women? The oldest passenger that day might have been the first to arrive. Seventy-nine-year-old Hilda Marcin was packed and ready to leave at 4:30 AM, excited to be moving across country to live with her daughter in California. 20-year-old Nicole Miller was traveling alone, saying good-bye to her boyfriend, Ryan Brown, at the gate. She joined him at the last minute to visit his family back East, but they couldn't get a seat on the same return flight.
(Photo of Nacke; airport scenes; photos of Hilda Marcin; photo of Nicole Miller; photo of Miller and Ryan Brown)
Mr. RYAN BROWN: We had a great, great, great time. She was so happy and so excited to be--and to see these things and to be in New York, and have a chance to visit the family that she hasn't really met.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Nicole wasn't the only one on Flight 93 because of last-minute plans. A toy company manager, Lou Nacke only bought his seat Monday night. He had a West Coast customer with an inventory problem, and had offered to fly out first thing Tuesday to fix it.
(Keyboard; airport scenes; photo of Nacke and woman)
Unidentified Man #1: He was debating whether to send the subordinate or--in the end, he said, 'You know, it's my responsibility. I better go.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) 48-year-old environmental lawyer Alan Beaven also booked the flight late. A lawsuit settlement had collapsed. He was racing to California to repair the damage. Beaven had a 5-year-old daughter at home and two grown sons. Todd Beamer wasn't one to wait 'till the last minute to fly out for a same-day company meeting, his wife, Lisa, told Stone Phillips, but he did this time.
(Photo of Alan Beaven; airport scenes; photo of Beaven and daughter; photo of Todd and Lisa Beamer)
Ms. LISA BEAMER: He and I had just gotten back from Italy Monday afternoon and he decided he wanted to spend some time with the kids that night and have a little more time before he flew out. So he decided to try to crunch his travel in in the morning.
STONE PHILLIPS reporting: That's the kind of father he was.
Ms. BEAMER: Yeah, that's it's--it's a true--a true picture right there.
Offscreen Voice: Good morning.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) There were two couples on board, Donald and Jean Peterson, and Linda Gronlund and Joseph Deluca. And sisters-in-law Pat Cushing and Jane Folger were going to see the wine country. But typical of most weekday morning flights, most people leave their loved ones behind. Because Jeremy Glick was supposed to be in California for a business meeting already, his wife, Lyz, had taken their 3-month-old baby, Emmy, to her parents' upstate New York country home.
(Photo of Donald and Jean Peterson; photos of Linda Gronlund and Joseph Deluca; photo of Pat Cushing and Jane Folger; plane taking off; photos of Jeremy Glick)
Unidentified television reporter: For much of the day flights were behind schedule at Newark Airport.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) But for a construction fire at Newark Airport and resulting delays, he would have traveled Monday night. Instead, he called to say he'd changed his travel plans.
(Construction crew at airport)
Ms. LYZ GLICK: His flight had been re-routed to Kennedy, he had said, and he didn't feel like getting into California at 3:00 in the morning. So he figured he would go home and get a good night's sleep and just catch the first one out.
PAULEY: Do you believe in fate?
Ms. GLICK: I do.
PAULEY: Do you believe your husband was fated to be on that plane?
Ms. GLICK: I do. I--I believe that, I believe that Jeremy was meant for a higher purpose.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) At about 7:30 AM, with boarding pass in hand, Jeremy made a quick call to his in-laws' house to say good morning to his wife. Her dad, Richard Macklin, answered the phone.
(Airport scenes; photo of Glick; phone pad)
Mr. RICHARD MACKLIN: And the baby had been up all night, and so we let Lizzie sleep. So it was a 45-second call. 'Have a good trip.' And we went about our business.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Tom Burnett was on the homeward leg of his trip. A senior vice president of a health care company, he traveled so much, of course he'd fall for a flight attendant.
(Photo of Tom Burnett; photo of Tom and Deena)
Ms. DEENA BURNETT: I had just finished flight attendant training, several of us had, and we were going out to celebrate. And my roommate was talking to this man who was sitting there. And she introduced him to me. And, of course, it was Tom.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Lauren Grandcolas was coming home, too. Her grandmother's funeral brought her east, but now she was happy to be going home. It wasn't even 5 AM in California, and her husband was asleep when she called to leave a message. Good news, she got a standby seat on an earlier flight, the 8:00, Flight 93. Pilot Jason Dahl, going through his preflight checklist in the cockpit, might have been a little down. He'd wanted some extra time with his wife and kids but couldn't find anyone willing to switch flights. At 7:55, the flight attendants were about to secure the door when one last passenger came rushing down the gangway. That was Mark Bingham, he'd overslept. Five more minutes and he would have missed the flight.
(Photo of Lauren Grandcolas; answering machine; keyboard; cockpit; picture of Jason Dahl; plane door being shut; gangway; photo of Bingham)
Ms. HOGLAN: We weren't really expecting him until the 14th, so he came home a few days early. And I didn't know he was flying until we got the call from him.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Seven crew members, 37 passengers: men and women on business, couples on vacation, students heading back to school, strangers to one another, and, under normal circumstances, likely to go their separate ways. But four other passengers in the cabin knew where this plane was bound, and it wasn't headed for California. At 8:01, Flight 93 pulled back from the gate just one minute behind schedule, while at Boston's Logan Airport, American Flight 11 took off at 8:00 sharp with United Flight 175 close behind. Both Boston planes were scheduled to fly to Los Angeles that morning. But a carefully timed terror assault was now under way, though one thing the four teams of terrorists hadn't factored into their plan: runway traffic at Newark airport that morning. Flight 93 took off 42 minutes late, a fact that would help save hundreds, if not thousands of lives. Flight 93 was still climbing when the World Trade Center towers were struck and yet another plane out of Dulles Airport ominously had turned back toward Washington like a boomerang. Passengers on those three doomed planes had no way to know and no time to act. But thanks to that runway delay and access to wireless phones, passengers on Flight 93 had both the time and the opportunity to see that this was a suicide mission and the chance to thwart it.
(Passengers in plane; flight attendant; passenger reading paper; photos of terrorists; plane in air; airport lobby; plane; planes on runway; plane striking World Trade Center; Trade Center burning; empty aisles in plane; phone; wing of plane)
Ms. CLAUDETTE GREENE: My sister-in-law, Bonnie, Don's sister, called me--I guess it was just before 9:00--and said, 'Is your television on? You can't believe what's going on.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Claudette Greene's husband, Don, was flying to California that morning to meet his brothers for a camping trip. Her heart sank.
(Photo of Don Greene)
Ms. GREENE: But I remember feeling enormous relief when I heard 'American Airlines' because I knew he was on United Airlines. And I sort of put it out of my head.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Lisa Beamer heard the phone ring downstairs while she did the laundry with her two little boys. Someone left a message.
(Photo of Todd and Lisa)
Ms. BEAMER: And I came down to listen to it. She said, 'I know Todd's flying today. Just wanted to make sure he's OK" And I could tell her voice, it was--there's something wrong.
PHILLIPS: You knew Todd was--was flying.
Ms. BEAMER: I definitely knew Todd was flying. I did not know on what airline, on what flight. I knew he was Newark to San Francisco bound. And I called Continental airlines because that's what he usually flies out of Newark, and they told me their flights were fine. So I thought, 'OK, we're all right.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) At that moment, breakfast had been served. The terror aboard Flight 93 had not yet begun.
(Flight attendant and passengers; sky)
"Whoever saves a single soul, it is as if he had saved the whole world."
PAULEY: (Voiceover) At 9:15 on the morning of September 11th, downtown New York City was in the throes of chaos. A second jet had slammed into the World Trade Center, and both towers were consumed in flaming jet fuel. Their now superheated steel structures were literally melting.
(World Trade Center on fire)
President GEORGE W. BUSH: (From file) Terrorism against our nation will not stand.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) And 20 minutes after the president spoke, the Pentagon was hit. The White House was evacuated. Nobody knew what was coming next. But Flight 93 was cruising comfortably at 35,000 feet, a hundred miles northwest of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Thirty-three passengers having breakfast, reading papers, catching a nap, perhaps. There's something timeless and dreamy about a long flight above the clouds and turbulence. Nobody knew this six-hour flight would last only 84 minutes. Mark Bingham and Tom Burnett were sitting in first-class. And so were at least two other men who might have been making a mental checklist. One of them was carrying a copy of this letter.
(Pentagon burning; White House; people running; map of plane's flight; people on plane; window of plane; sky; plane; photos of Bingham and Tom; letter)
Mr. JOHN ASHCROFT (US Attorney General): It is a disturbing and shocking view into the mindset of these terrorists.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) If they followed instructions to the letter, they had shaved their bodies the night before, read the Quran, gathered their weapons, including a knife tucked in a cigarette lighter. They were to pray before stepping on the plane that morning and to clench their teeth when came the moment to strike. Who were these men? Three were probably traveling under assumed Saudi identities. Twenty-seven-year-old Lebanese, Ziad Jarrah, seems to have been their leader. A licensed pilot, he took lessons at a Florida flying school last year and self-defense classes at a Florida gym.
(Letters; quotes from letter; photos of terrorists; photo of Ziad Jarrah; small plane; man training on dummy)
Unidentified Man #2: He told me that he traveled a lot. He was always interested in martial arts, and then in case anything ever happened that he would need to--to defend himself or know as much about it, what could I teach him.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Jarrah was about to put his training to use. As they pulled their knives, they were to scream, "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," because they were told this was sure to terrify everyone.
(Photo of Jarrah; pages written in foreign language; translated excerpts from pages)
"...it strikes fear into the hearts of non-believers."
PAULEY: (Voiceover) At 9:30, the serenity of a quiet night was shattered. In a flash, a passenger was stabbed and two hijackers breached the cockpit.
(Scenes of interior of plane)
Mr. GREG FEITH: It's reasonable to assume that most likely they forced their way in.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Aviation consultant and pilot Greg Feith was an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board for 22 years, though he's not working on the Flight 93 investigation.
Mr. FEITH: Anybody coming into the cockpit from behind is basically in a control position because they have freedom of movement that the flight crew doesn't have.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) When violence erupted aboard Flight 93, the plane was southeast of Cleveland. The air-traffic control center there was on the edge of chaos after the attack in New York, like others all around the country. The tower was frantically trying to identify and contact every plane in their airspace. How many more had been hijacked? Nobody knew. Then, shortly after 9:30, Flight 93's transponder, which sends controllers a radar signal with identifying information, was suddenly switched off for about 30 seconds. That got Cleveland center's attention.
(Computer graphic showing flight path; scenes of air traffic control room; plane wing; cockpit controls; radar screen)
Mr. FEITH: Maybe one of the flight crew members tried--saw that it was turned off, tried to turn it back on and then put in the universal code that you can put into that box that will alert the--the ground radar people that they have a hijacking in progress.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) No universal hijacking code was ever sent. But shortly after 9:30 controllers were surprisded to hear a radio transmission from Flight 93.
Mr. FEITH: Someone had keyed a mike so that they had an open microphone when all this commotion was going on.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) A source familiar with the investigation told DATELINE what controllers heard. First, someone, perhaps the pilot, says, 'Get out of here!' Then screaming, followed by silence. Whether Captain Dahl and his co-pilot, Leroy Homer, fought to the death to defend their aircraft or were left to die or sent to sit with passengers in the back, investigators can only speculate. Controllers tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to raise the pilot on the radio. Terrorists were probably sitting at the controls.
Back in the cabin, another hijacker with a red box tied around his waist, which he said was a bomb, divided the passengers and crew in two groups: 10 in the first-class section, 27 in the back of coach.
And then something remarkable began. Passengers starting using their cell phones or swiping credit cards in on air phones. So many phone calls were made--more than two dozen, in fact--that some speculate the hijackers actually encouraged it, perhaps to ramp up the terror as word of those calls spread. Lyz and Jeremy Glick actually had a 20-minute conversation.
(Air traffic control room; empty cockpit; airplane; cockpit controls; air traffic control antennae; cockpit controls; empty plane; cell phone; air phone; cell phone; photo of Lyz and Jeremy)
PAULEY: So he was free to talk with you, or was he trying to speak to you surreptitiously?
Ms. GLICK: He was free to talk to me. I was a little bit, I think, surprised by, you know, the--the air of what--you know, the aura of what was going on on--on the plane. I had--I was surprised by how calm it seemed in the background. There was...
PAULEY: You didn't hear...
Ms. GLICK: I didn't hear any screaming.
Ms. GLICK: I didn't hear any noises. I didn't hear any commotion.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) If the terrorists didn't encourage those calls, they did nothing to stop them. And that may have been their undoing, because while they may have wanted information going out, they hadn't anticipated the consequences of information coming in.
At 9:36, air-traffic controllers watched radar screens as the plane made a hard left turn, veering sharply off course, turning south and then east. Just three minutes later, the Pentagon was hit. At that point, the FAA ordered every airport in the country closed immediately, and all airborne planes to the ground. But Flight 93 maintained its new course, straight for Washington, DC.
(Air phone; cell phone; control tower; computer graphic showing flight path; Pentagon on fire; planes; cockpit controls)
PAULEY: Was there any--any talk, any exchange about speculating--you know, 'What could they be doing? Where could we--they be taking us?'
Ms. GLICK: He was able to describe where he was. You know, they were still flying high at the time that this happened. He was able to see rural landscape and he--the plane had turned. It wasn't going to California. It was...
PAULEY: He knew it had turned.
Ms. GLICK: Yeah. He felt the plane was circling and, you know, circling, and it wasn't--it wasn't going to California.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Deena Burnett told DATELINE's Maria Shriver that she had the TV on while feeding her two children when she got the first call from her husband, Tom.
(Deena talking to reporter)
Ms. BURNETT: I asked him immediately if he was OK, and he said no. He said, 'I'm on the airplane, United Flight 93, and it's been hijacked.' And he said, 'Please call the authorities,' and he hung up.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Todd Beamer picked up a GTE Airfone and dialed zero and was connected to supervisor Lisa Jefferson, who told Stone Phillips what he said.
(Air phone; Lisa Jefferson)
Ms. LISA JEFFERSON: He told me that there were three people that had taken over the plane; two with knives and one with a bomb strapped around his waist with a red belt. The two with the knives had locked themselves in the cockpit. They had ordered everyone to sit down because the flight attendants were standing. One just happened to sit next to him.
PHILLIPS: So he was in a passenger seat?
Ms. JEFFERSON: Yes, in the back of the plane. And the hijacker with the bomb pulled the curtain to--in first-class so they couldn't see what was going on. But he did see two people that were on the floor in the front of the plane, appeared to be hurt. He couldn't tell if they were dead or alive. The flight attendant told him that she was pretty sure it was the pilot and the co-pilot.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Passengers may, at first, have thought this was the kind of hijacking in which hostages are held until demands are met. But Tom Burnett made a second call to his wife, saying ominous news was circulating among the passengers.
(Scenes of inside plane; air phone)
Ms. BURNETT: He asked me about the World Trade Center. He asked if it was a passenger airline, and I told him I didn't know. And he said 'OK,' and he hung up again, said that he had to go.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) People were actively working together now. Jeremy Glick said he needed more information. His wife, Lyz, weighed whether or not to tell him what she was seeing with her own eyes.
(Inside plane; air phone)
Ms. GLICK: I remember I was standing in the living room. It was actually right in front of me on the television. He said, 'Lyz, I need to know something. One of the other passengers has talked to their spouse, and he had said that they were crashing planes into the World Trade Center, and was that true?' And I just, you know, hesitated for a minute, and I said, 'You need to be strong, but yes, they are doing that.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Tom Burnett called Deena a third time.
Ms. BURNETT: I said, 'Tom, they just hit the Pentagon.' He said, 'OK. OK.' I told him I had called the authorities. He said, 'We can't wait for the authorities. We have to do something.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Think about that. In less than a half hour, more than three dozen individuals who'd been complete strangers had somehow become 'we.' What would they do?
(Airplane wing; empty plane)
Announcer: No Greater Love: The Story of Flight 93 will continue after this brief message.
TEXT: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Now 9:45 AM, Flight 93 had been in the air for just over an hour. Originally bound for California, now the plane was headed east, dipping into West Virginia 220 miles from Washington, DC. Thanks to cell phones and on-board air phones in every row, people were desperately trying to reach family. At least two dozen phone calls were made from the plane. Lauren Grandcolas left another message on their machine. The first had been the happy news that she'd made this earlier flight. The second said, 'We're having a little problem on the plane, but I'm comfortable for now. I love you.' Joseph Deluca called his dad. His girlfriend, Linda Gronlund, called her sister. Marion Britton, who worked as a manager for the US Census, borrowed a phone to call a friend of 40 years. He tried to raise her spirits, but she was sure she was going to die. She said they'd already slit two people's throats.
Others weren't going down without a fight. And strangers just an hour before were now talking quietly, desperately, running through options, not surrendering to their fate. Jeremy Glick wanted his wife's advice.
(Scenes of planes flying; White House; cell phones; air phones; planes flying; answering machine; photos of Grandcolas and husband; photo of Deluca; photo of Gronlund; photos of Marion Britton; empty plane; photo of Jeremy and Lyz)
Ms. GLICK: 'You know, we're talking about attacking these men. What should I do?' And, you know, I was scared about giving him the wrong, you know, information. I didn't want him to do something wrong and have something terrible happen. And, you know, so I asked them if they were armed, and he said he had seen knives and--but there were no guns. He was shocked that these people could have gotten on the plane.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Time was running out. With the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in flames, the president of the United States had already made a decision unprecedented in American history. The US government was prepared to shoot that plane down.
(Scene of second plane crashing into World Trade Center; Pentagon burning; George Bush addressing reporters)
PAULEY: Would that have been with Congress' approval?
Senator HILLARY CLINTON: Jane, I think, in desperate times like these, you have to think the unthinkable. And I, for one, would not have second-guessed that decision.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) The passengers only knew they were heading somewhere fast, not that fighter planes were heading toward them even faster. Todd Beamer and Tom Burnett wasted no time. They were frantically working the problem.
(Washington Memorial; fighter plane; photos of Beamer and Tom)
Ms. BURNETT: He was very busy. He was taking down information. He was planning what they were going to do, and he was not interested in reviewing his life or whispering sweet nothings into the telephone, I assure you. He was problem-solving. And he was going to take care of it and come on home.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) With no weapons, they'd appreciate a guy like Mark Bingham. He once tackled a mugger on a San Francisco street, ran with the bulls in Pamplona this year. Lou Nacke; a guy with a Superman tattoo on his shoulder can probably back it up. Even Jeremy Glick wasn't just another guy in a two-piece suit.
(Airplane; photos of Bingham; photo of Nacke; photo of Jeremy and Lyz)
Unidentified Woman #3: When he was in college, he was the national collegiate junior--judo championship. So he was really strong.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Richard Guadagno, a US Fish and Wildlife service manager, was trained in hand-to-hand combat. And flight attendant CeeCee Lyles could handle a fight, her husband, Lorne, says. She was a former cop.
(Photos of Richard Guadagno; photo of CeeCee Lyles and others)
Mr. LORNE LYLES: CeeCee was a tough one. CeeCee was a very tough cookie. And even when we play and wrestle around, I know she's pretty tough. So I would say that, you know, CeeCee probably had her hands in her own fate because she always wanted to determine her own fate anyway.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) If she and the others still held out hope of surviving, overpowering armed hijackers was only half the problem. Perhaps they already knew that Andrew Garcia was an air-traffic controller for the Air National Guard. His skills might help save their lives, especially if they knew that the passenger sitting in 21-D was the CFO of a company in the aviation business. Did they know that Don Greene was a private pilot who could fly a plane before he drove a car? If they could get the terrorists out of the cockpit, his wife, Claudette, says...
(Photo of CeeCee; plane; photo of Andrew Garcia and woman; photos of Greene)
Ms. GREENE: He had the knowledge to fly and land that airplane.
(Voiceover) If there was any way he could get into the cockpit and take over the airplane, I think he would have tried to do that.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Not everyone had given up yet. Flight attendant Sandy Bradshaw promised her husband that if she survived she would quit her job. Meanwhile, she told him, she was getting scalding water ready to throw at the hijackers. How many were in on the plan? Jeremy Glick told Lyz they were going to "take a vote." What were others thinking? One can only wonder.
(Photo of Sandy Bradshaw and family; plane; photo of Jeremy Glick)
Ms. GREENE: I shudder to think what those last moments were like.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Claudette Greene never heard from her husband, Don, and thinks she knows why.
Ms. GREENE: I've never actually missed the fact that he didn't call. I think he was busy. I'm convinced he was very busy. He didn't have time to make the call.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Not all passengers and crew made those calls, perhaps wanting to spare loved ones the agony. Colleen Fraser, a tiny woman who walked with a cane, was petrified of flying. But this tireless advocate for the disabled, according to her sister, had the personality of a Napoleon. Wanda Green, another flight attendant, had 29 years of experience. She was supposed to retire next year. And Japanese college student, Toshiya Kuge, spoke little or no English. How much did he even understand? By 9:50, Lyz Glick understood all too well.
(Plane; photos of Colleen Fraser; photo of Wanda Green; photo of Toshiya Kuge; plane)
Ms. GLICK: And then, you know, I finally just decided, gut instinct, that, 'Honey, you need to do it.' And--and, you know, and then he joked. He's like, 'OK. I have my butter knife from breakfast,' you know, which is totally like Jeremy.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Now Tom Burnett called his wife, Deena, a fourth and final time.
(Scenes from home video of wedding)
Ms. BURNETT: He said, 'OK. There's a group of us, and we're going to do something.' I said, 'No.' I said, 'Please sit down and be still, be quiet. Don't draw attention to yourself.' And he said, 'No.' He said, 'If they're going to drive this plane into the ground,' he said, 'we've got to do something.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) And Mark Bingham called his mother, Alice Hoglan.
(Photo of Mark and Alice Hoglan)
Ms. HOGLAN: I heard Mark say, 'Mom, this is Mark Bingham.' Not sure why he introduced himself that way. He said, 'I just want to tell you that I love you in case I don't see you again.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) CeeCee Lyles called her husband, Lorne. A cop, he'd worked the night shift and was still asleep.
(Photo of CeeCee and Lorne)
Mr. LYLES: And she was, like, 'Babe,' you know, 'my plane has been hijacked,' you know? She said, 'They forced their way into the cockpit.' And then she went on to say that, she said, 'Babe, I need for you to tell the kids that I love them and I love you all dearly,' like that. And then I went--I thought--you know, me just waking up, I thought she was joking, you know? I said, 'Babe, stop joking.' She said, 'No, Babe, I'm not joking. I wouldn't call you and play like that.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Todd Beamer was still on the phone with GTE supervisor Lisa Jefferson.
(Photo of Todd; Jefferson)
Ms. JEFFERSON: He said, 'In case I don't make it through this, would you please do me a favor and call my wife and my family and let them know how much I love them?' So I told him I would.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) And both of them crying, Jeremy Glick took time to prepare his wife for life without him.
(Glick wedding photo)
Ms. GLICK: We said "I love you" a thousand times over and over and over again, and it just brought so much peace to us. And it wasn't even the words. I felt the feeling from it, and you know, he told me to--he said to love Emmy, who is our daughter, and to take care of her. And then he said, 'Whatever decisions you make in your life, I need you to be happy, and I will respect any decisions that you make.' That's what he said, and I think that gives me the most comfort. He sounded strong. He didn't sound panicked. You know, very clearheaded. I told him to just, you know, put a picture of me and Emmy in his head to be strong.
PAULEY: So you were strong for him as he was strong for you?
Ms. GLICK: Mm-hmm. I mean, neither of us panicked. He knew that he was not going to make it out of there.
PAULEY: And so did you.
Ms. GLICK: I had hope.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Several passengers recited the Lord's Prayer together. Todd Beamer was one of them. Lisa Jefferson said it along with him.
Ms. JEFFERSON: After that, he had a sigh in his voice. He took a deep breath. He was still holding the phone, but he was not talking to me. He was talking to someone else. And he said, 'You ready? OK, let's roll.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Flight attendant Sandy Bradshaw told her husband they were all running to first-class together. 'I've got to go, bye,' she said and dropped the phone. Elizabeth Wainio hung up, too. She told her mother it was time to go. The passengers were breaking into the cockpit. Lorne Lyles wasn't quite ready to end his call with CeeCee.
(Bradshaw family photo; photo of Elizabeth Wainio; Lorne)
Mr. LYLES: And then I hear commotion in the background. And then, you know, I didn't know what to think. I just--honestly, I didn't know what to think. I didn't know what to think had happened. All I know is I got disconnected. And I got disconnected with her screaming.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) It was just before 10 AM. The counterattack had begun.
(Airplane cockpit; airplane)
"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them...and yet...go out to meet it."
PAULEY: (Voiceover) It was 9:55 that Tuesday morning. Millions of viewers worldwide had watched live as a second plane crashed into the World Trade Center, confirming the first explosion had been a terrorist attack. They had seen the Pentagon burning, too, but Americans didn't yet know about the drama unfolding on a fourth passenger plane. Perhaps on Todd Beamer's signal, "let's roll," people in the back of the plane started running forward. Standing between them and the cockpit, 100 feet up the aisle, would have been at least one terrorist with that so-called "bomb" tied around his waist. Did flight attendant Sandy Bradshaw throw that scalding water on him? At that moment, data shows Flight 93 was flying very erratically. Maybe the terrorists were becoming unglued by the unexpected commotion outside.
(Cockpit; World Trade Center; crowd; Pentagon; United Airlines plane; photo of Todd; cockpit; Bradshaw; airplane cabin interior)
Mr. FEITH: There's a high probability that the hijackers were manually flying the airplane, that the autopilot wasn't actually engaged and flying the airplane, but they were actually manipulating the flight controls. Also, because of whatever was probably transpiring with the commotion and possibly then with the passengers trying to reassume control, that may have been a cause for the erratic flying--the wings rocking, the pitching up and down of the airplane.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) It's not surprising, then, what Lyz Glick's father, Richard Macklin, heard when she handed him the phone to hold. She couldn't bear to listen.
Mr. MACKLIN: There was no noise for several minutes. And then there was some screams--some screams in the background. And so I said, 'Well, they're doing it.'
PAULEY: (Voiceover) At 9:58, A 911 call came into the rural Westmoreland County Department of Public Safety, southeast of Pittsburgh. It was a man on a cell phone, locked in the bathroom of Flight 93. Dan Stevens is the public information officer for the department.
(Call center; cell phone; Dan Stevens)
Mr. DAN STEVENS: When you call 911, you look for help. And this person was looking for help. We were there. We tried--there wasn't a whole lot we could do.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Hoping his son-in-law, Jeremy Glick, would come back, Richard Macklin stayed on the line.
(Photo of Jeremy)
Mr. MACKLIN: Another--seemed like eternity, but another minute, minute and a half, and then there was another set of screams. And it was muffled, it was almost as if a roller coaster, you know, the noise you would hear. Then there was nothing.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) DATELINE has confirmed that the cockpit voice recorder, recovered at the crash site, captured the sounds of screaming, in English, and pounding on a door. You can also hear someone, most likely the hijacker pilot, flipping through pages of paper. Seconds later, the tape ends.
Mr. LEE PURBAUGH (Eyewitness): I heard this loud noise, and I happened to look up. And this jet come right straight over my head. And it was real low. And it probably crashed down. It went nose to tail.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) For the brave passengers and crew of Flight 93, the end came at 10:06 AM in a deserted strip mine in the hills of Stony Creek Township, Pennsylvania, not the White House or the US Capitol building. They would be proclaimed heroes, but they were fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters first. That morning, Lisa Beamer was sitting on her couch, a worried wife, anxiously watching television like a missing seafarer's wife might have scanned the horizon from a widow's walk.
(Plane crash site; photos of passengers; photo of Lisa; plane crash site)
Ms. BEAMER: When I heard them say that was the United flight from Newark to San Francisco that just went down--and I said, 'That's his flight.' And my friend said, 'No, he might be on a different one. He might not have made it on the plane, he might...' you know, and I said, 'No, I know that's his flight.' And I just said, 'No.'
Ms. BURNETT: There was a policeman at my house that they had--they had sent over to stay with me, and he saw it first. And he turned around, and he said, 'I think I have bad news for you.' And when he said that, I just turned toward the television, I ran to the television, and I said, 'Is this Tom's flight?' He said, 'Yes.' And I was still holding to the telephone. I held on to the telephone for three hours, until the battery ran down.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) So many grieving families, yet the story of passenger John Talignani seems especially cruel. He was flying to California for a funeral. His stepson had just died in a car crash on his honeymoon. Now his family would now be driving from California to Pennsylvania for his memorial. And what about the children? At least 20 had lost a parent. Deena Burnett has three daughters, the oldest, 5-year-old twins.
(Photo of John Talignani; airplane; Beamer family photo; Burnett daughters)
Ms. BURNETT: I sat them on the bed, and I told them that dad was not coming home. And Madison asked if she could call him on his cell phone. And I told her no, that he didn't have a cell phone in heaven. And Hallie said, 'Well, can the postman take a letter to him?' So they understand, I think, that he's not coming home. But they don't understand exactly where he is or why. And it makes it very difficult.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Claudette Greene, now a widow with two children, takes her inspiration from a role model, Jackie Kennedy.
(Claudette Greene, Jackie Kennedy)
Ms. CLAUDETTE GREENE: I remember thinking, 'How does she do that?' Because I had been to funerals with people weeping and sobbing and falling apart. And I was so impressed with her and the dignity she had.
(Voiceover) And it hit me that night--it's because she had children. She was there for them. And I have thought about her every day since.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) On a day when terrorists made us feel vulnerable and powerless, a group of ordinary people showed us we were not.
(World Trade Center; photos of passengers)
Vice President CHENEY: Without question, the attack would have been much worse if it hadn't been for the courageous acts of those--those individuals on United 93.
PAULEY: (Voiceover) Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter would honor every single one of them.
(Senator Arlen Specter)
Senator ARLEN SPECTER: (From file footage) There is a deep debt of gratitude. And we're now looking into the freedom medal for those people who were on board the plane who may have saved the US Capitol and the senators and house members, including the two sitting here.
Ms. BEAMER: If there's any beauty in this whole thing that's gone on, it's that there are people out there who are people of character. I mean, I wonder, deep in my heart, if I was Todd, what would I have done. Would I have done the same thing as he did? And I think, you know--Todd was an ordinary guy. He was extraordinary to me and to his family, but to the world he was ordinary. And like any ordinary guy getting on a plane that day in a business suit, he was able to do extraordinary things.
Announcer: "No Greater Love: The Story of Flight 93" will continue after this brief message.
"For every soul there is a guardian watching over it."
PAULEY: We know this much about the brave souls of United Flight 93. They understood the danger ahead and they went out to meet it. They have won a nation's gratitude and its heart, as well.
(Memorial; photos of passengers accompanied by music)
Unidentified Woman #4: From this moment forward, just let there be peace with all of us and love.
(Photos of passengers; memorials accompanied by music)
Unidentified Man #3: I can't look back over the last 11 days and say I've learned anything, but I'm able to tell you that my--our world, is better for having her in it.
(Photos of passengers accompanied by music)
Ms. LAURA BUSH: And I want each of you to know that you are not alone. We cannot ease the pain, but this country stands by you. We'll always remember what happened that day and to whom it happened.
(Photos of passengers accompanied by music; memorial)