Remembering Flight 93 Five Years Later
Remembering Flight 93 five years later
September 7, 2006 9:30 PM
San Ramon native, Deena Burnett, returned to the Bay Area Wednesday to share with college students her tragic experiences with 9/11 to remind Americans that freedom is worth fighting for.
Burnett said she fell hard the morning of September 11 to hear her husband Tom Burnett calling from inside Flight 93 telling his wife the plane had been hijacked and that he was leading a coalition to ram the cockpit and fight the terrorists. He told her not to worry. Those were his last words to her.
She told this to a room full of students, parents and reporters at St. Mary’s College in Moraga Wednesday evening. The college’s California College Republicans organized this 9/11 memorial event to let Burnett tell her story.
“I’m not much of a public speaker, but I like that college students ask a lot of questions. They’re intrigued when I tell them that they can make a difference,” Burnett said.
Burnett, who now lives in Arkansas, talked about the fear she experienced that day on Sept. 11, 2001. She feared leaving her house, she feared for her daughters, and she feared for safety of Americans. She even talked about the struggle of coping with her three daughters.
Although it has been a tough journey, Burnett remarks, she feels like it is important for Americans to understand that they can make a difference and overcome any obstacle.
“If Tom were here, he would tell us he was just doing the right thing. He would laugh when people called him a hero,” said Burnett. “Making the commitment to be an everyday hero; we each have an obligation as American to do what we can.”
Burnett was asked about national security, the war on terrorism and President Bush’s popularity.
“Five years later we are safer than we ever were,” She said about national security. She said that she does not agree with the criticism of President Bush.
“I think it’s easy to throw the blame when you’re not walking in their shoes,” she said. “He has had made some tough decisions and I respect him.”
Burnett also said she disagrees with the attitudes of the bay area residents against the war and the military.
“I think that anyone who doesn’t believe that war on terrorism is necessary, they don’t remember. They don’t remember how fearful our nation was that day,” she said. “It’s heart wrenching.”
Burnett's comments resonated with those in attendance.
"It concerns me more than anything that the support after 9/11 was high and now it is diminishing. Young people have said 9/11 wasn't that significant," said Bryan Welden. "It deeply concerns me."
For the fifth anniversary in a row, Welden has been organizing the Lafayette Flag Brigade, a project that displays patriotic banners, honoring Walnut Creek residents and those from nearby communities who are currently on duty with any branch of the U.S. military, including the Guard and Reserves, according to the project’s Web site.
Danielle White, co-president of the College Republican Club at St. Mary's, agrees with Welden. "It doesn't matter age, race, political party, this is a day we will never forget and to be reminded of the heroism that was displayed for our country."
The memorial to her husband is a way for people to remember what happened that day, said Burnett. He loved our country, said Burnett. “If he were here, he’d raise his glass and say ‘live every day as it is your last.’”
Burnett said she will continue to speak all over the United States to remind people of the sacrifices people have made to ensure us freedom.
“If this was your last day on earth, have you made a difference?” she asked. “What are you willing to fight for?”
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