First posted here y10912
Latest change Y11211
Copyright © 2001 by Hugo S. Cunningham
Medal of Honor for UA93 Passengers -- Heroes!
The heroic resistance of passengers on Flight UA93 prevented the
terrorists from crashing a giant gasoline bomb into another human
target. Hundreds of American lives were saved.
"We're all gonna die, but three of us are going to do something ... I
love you, honey."
--final cell phone call of Tom Burnett, UA93 passenger, to his wife.
[reported in "Boston Globe," Wed 12 Sep 2001, p. A10]
"You ready? Okay, let's roll."
--last recorded words of Todd Beamer, UA93 passenger
[reported in "The Observer International," Sun 2 Dec
"There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is
no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as
-- Winston S. Churchill
"The dream of my life has risen to become fact. Self-defense in the
ghetto will have been a reality. ... I have been a witness to the
magnificent, heroic fighting of Jewish men in battle."
-- Mordecai Anielewicz, commander of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising (final
letter, dated 23 April 1943)
The 11 Sep 2001 terrorists were able to use three of their captive
aircraft as gasoline bombs against crowded buildings, murdering thousands. There is every reason to believe their plans were the
same for Flight UA93 (Newark-San Francisco). But instead it crashed
harmlessly in a corn field. Tom Burnett's last phone call suggests
The greatness of the American people lies in their willingness to take
personal responsibility when necessary, rather than passively waiting
on their rulers.
Even under the best political constitution, rulers can become
arrogant, corrupt, or simply ineffective. And sometimes challenges
arise that even the best-willed and trained professionals cannot deal
with. With the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, our nation's
first leaders cautioned their successors never to cut themselves off
from the spontaneous support of ordinary Americans.
By honoring the passengers of Flight UA93, we will send a message to
our enemies: though they may decapitate our leadership, our people
will find in themselves the leadership needed to recover and go after
"The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
(1) Who, specifically, would we honor with the award?
It turns out we probably will know who they are, thanks to cell phone
calls by several passengers.
(2) Is the Congressional Medal of Honor restricted to military on active duty?
An article appeared in the "New York Times" Thur, 13 Sep 2001, pp.
"On a Doomed Jet, Passengers Vowed to Perish Fighting"
[Later note: names cited in all accounts are Jeremy Glick, Mark Bingham, and Todd Beamer (whose widow was invited to attend Pres. Bush's address to Congress on 20 Sep). Thomas E. Burnett is cited in most accounts, and the name of Lou Nacke has also come up. (y10921)]
Yes. We could, retroactively, rule that the UA93 heroes, as "unorganized militia," were called to active duty when they discussed their options with ground control.
It turns out, however, that we already have a civilian "Congressional Gold medal" of comparable distinction, only awarded to two or three people per year in recent years.
There is a House Resolution 2917 to award gold medals to
Legislation is easily researched at the US Library of Congress site
"(1) Jeremy Glick, Todd Beamer, Thomas Burnett, Jr., and Mark Bingham; and
Some other bills would honor all 40 passengers and crew equally, eg Senate Bill S1434 and House resolution HR2916.
"(2) other passengers or crew members on board United Airlines Flight 93 who are identified by the Attorney General as having aided in the effort to resist the hijackers on board the plane."
1. Cell phones save lives
2. A reference to Mordecai Anielewicz
1. Cell Phones.
We have heard many complaints about cells phones in recent
months, but it looks like passenger cell phones are invaluable
anti-hijack tools. Not only did the UA93 cell-phoners provide
investigators with key information; they also learned in return what
the terrorists had done with the other 3 planes. That certainly
hardened their resolution.
In any future hijack situation, if the hijackers try to collect
cell phones, that should be taken by passengers as proof the hijackers
intend to murder them, and spark violent resistance at whatever the
2. A reference to Mordecai Anielewicz
Before learning about the already-existing "Congressional Gold medal" for civilians, I had suggested creating a "Congressional Minuteman Medal of Honor," or a historical reference to Mordecai Anielewicz, a civilian, commander of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazi butchers, eg:
The Order of Mordecai Anielewicz
To those, forced to abandon non-combatant status by the extreme
atrocity of an enemy, who frustrate (at least in part) that enemy's
plans, saving hundreds of friendly lives, and/or inflicting equivalent
damage on the enemy.
The Order of Mordecai Anielewicz, First Class, shall be legally
equivalent to the Congressional Medal of Honor
[similar standards, for ten or more lives]
[similar standards, for one or more lives]
Would it be wrong for America to appropriate the name of Mordecai
Anielewicz, a citizen of Poland?
(1) His heroism was on a world scale, belonging to all decent
opinion of mankind (so long as they respect his heritage).
(2) I suspect that descendants of his relatives may have found
their way to the USA.
(note) For those unfamilier with Polish, his surname is pronounced
Revision of earlier message posted to Usenet:
From: email@example.com (Hugo S. Cunningham)
Subject: Medal of Honor for Flight UA93 passengers -- heroes!
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 18:38:28 GMT
Some UA93-related sites
(Not an exhaustive list. More can be found with a web search)
Go back to index page.
Go back to HSC home page