Remembering September 11, 2001 ~ And Two Passengers on Flight 93


Some incidents impact a nation so dramatically that people never forget where they were when they learned of the event ― September 11, 2001, was such a day. 

I was living in northern Virginia and working at the Community Bible Study National Service Center located in Reston, Virginia. Since it was early September it was at the time of year that many of our CBS classes around the country were just getting underway again.  All the staff members attended one of the local classes, and a number of my co-workers were at class that morning.

I was in the office when we learned of the news, so immediately the television was turned on and many gathered around to watch and learn of the unfolding events ― and to pray.  Our normal office routine allowed for a time every morning when we would gather and pray.

Because of the office’s location in the Washington DC metropolitan area, we were even more impacted because the Pentagon was not far away. Some of our staff either knew people or had family serving in the military. My Navy son was stationed in Florida. My youngest son was a student at the Virginia Military Institute miles away in Lexington, Virginia. He was impacted by the attack on the Pentagon as he was on guard duty at the time and was one of many who had to deliver tragic news to fellow students about their parents. And then our staff heard that Flight 93 that went down in Shanksville, PA was probably intended for the White House or the Capitol.

What we would soon learn was that two of the passengers of Flight 93 were two Community Bible Study Leaders, Don and Jean Peterson. Don was a CBS Teaching Director and Jean was a CBS Prayer Chairman. They lived in New Jersey and were on their way to Yosemite National Park in California for a vacation. They were offered the opportunity to take Flight 93 instead of their later scheduled flight, and took it.

The courageous narrative of how the passengers and crew members aboard the plane planned and overtook the hijackers is powerful.  There also were many stories of heroism in New York and Washington. 

In the days following September 11 flags appeared everywhere, churches were filled.

And for a time, the United States of America was just that ― united.

6 Replies to “Remembering September 11, 2001 ~ And Two Passengers on Flight 93”

  1. Most of us will never forget that day…where we were and what we were doing. I, too, was preparing to attend a bible study at my church. I did not go that morning, but stayed home and watched on television. My husband called me from work, and we prayed over the phone. Shortly after, my high school daughter returned home. We talked and we knew that our country was forever changed.
    My husband and I had the opportunity to visit the Shanksville site last year. As we stood on a small hill, in rural setting, we viewed the crash site. A wall of names honors the brave passengers and crew. It was very moving.
    In November, we will go to the New York site and the new 9-11 Museum.
    Today, I remember all those who lost their lives and their precious families. May God bless America, as we continue to see the threat of terrorism increase in today’s world.
    Thank you, Janet, for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Kathy, and for sharing what your 9-11 looked like.
      You’re right. Our country has been forever changed. And a nation that was so united for a time, is now so divided.

  2. Hi Janet. Thanks for your post. It’s still so painful to see photos or hear stories of that day. I learned yesterday that the two F16s that were scrambled to bring down Flight 93 were unarmed. There was simply not enough time to get ammo loaded. Both of the F16 pilots were aware it was a suicide mission and they were going to crash into Flight 93 before it could get to DC. Those brave passengers ended up saving not only the lives of all those people in Washington, but these two fighter jet pilots as well.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Tom. What is really disturbing is that so many folks still believe flight 93 was shot down. I believe that God was directing the hands of many that day to combat evil. I understand Don Peterson’s Bible was found in the wreckage with the names of many of the people for whom he was praying.

  3. I wrote out a long reply, but lost it when I hit submit, so here is the short version. That tragic morning, when we all sat stunned– watching the planes crash, I did not know I had a connection to one of the pilots on the plane that crashed in PA. Back during the war in Vietnam,I was to marry Ken Dahl, the brother to pilot, Jason Dahl. Five days or so before Ken was to leave Nam, he took sick and was flown to Japan. His parents flew from California to be with him. I was at work when my mother got the call informing us that he had died. And so, I can’t help but think of a special man I loved, when I think of the awful hours that unfolded on 9/11 and so many people lost loved ones.

    1. Thank you, Karen, for sharing about your connection to 9-11. It is fascinating how sometimes our past can literately collide with the present or the future. I had a similar experience in that sense.

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