Planting Flags on the Village Green — And Honoring the Heroes on Flight 93

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Palisades Post 283 American Legion Auxiliary with help from Scouts lay out flags on September 10 to commemorate 9/11.
Photo: Courtesy  Office of Councilmember Mike Bonin

American Legion Auxiliary members voted to commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and honor the victims by placing flags in Pacific Palisades. The board overseeing the Village Green, a private park in the center of the town, approved the request.

Last Friday, 300 American Flags were placed on the Green by auxiliary members in red shirts, Scouts in blue shirts and with support from Kevin Niles, adjutant of the Ronald Reagan American Legion Post 283, who wielded a hammer.

Unlike Pepperdine, which annually places a flag for each of the almost 3,000 people who died on September 11, 2001, the Auxiliary feared the Green would hold that many flags.

Thirteen larger flags were also placed on the triangular park that borders on Sunset in memory of the 13 American military personnel who were killed in Afghanistan on August 27.

As everyone worked to place the flags, a man came up, who was visibly angry and wanted to know if everyone had been vaccinated. He then chastised the auxiliary members for wearing red because they looked like “Trump supporters.”

One teen on the Green told a group of friends hanging out that “They’re doing this because they’re Trump supporters.”

About 300 flags were placed on the Village Green.
Photo: Courtesy Office of Councilmember Mike Bonin.

 

 

Please read the final transcript from United Flight 93 (below). The heroic efforts of Americans on 9/11 most surely stopped a plane from being crashed into the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

Todd Beamer

The call was between Todd Beamer, a passenger, and Lisa Jefferson, a telephone supervisor for GTE.

Todd: Hello… Operator…listen to me…I can’t speak very loud. – This is an emergency. I’m a passenger on a United flight to San Francisco.. We have a situation here….Our plane has been hijacked…..can you understand me?

Lisa: (exhaling a deep breath to herself) I understand… Can the hijackers see you talking on the phone?

Todd: No

Lisa: Can you tell me how many hijackers are on the plane?

Todd: There are three that we know of.

Lisa: Can you see any weapons? What kind of weapons do they have?

Todd: Yes…. they don’t have guns….they have knives – they took over the plane with knives.

Lisa: Do you mean…like steak knives?

Todd: No, these are razor knives…like box cutters.

Lisa: Can you tell what country these people are from?

Todd: No…..I don’t know. They sound like they’re from the mid-east.

Lisa: Have they said what they want?

Todd: Someone announced from the cockpit that there was a bomb on board. He said he was the captain and to stay in our seats and stay quiet. He said that they were meeting these men’s demands and returning to the airport… It was very broken English, and… I’m telling you…it sounded fake!

Lisa: Okay sir, please give me your name.

Todd: My name is Todd Beamer.

Lisa: Okay Todd….my name is Lisa…Do you know your flight number? If you can’t remember, it’s on your ticket.

Todd: It’s United Flight 93.

Lisa: Now Todd, can you try to tell me exactly what happened?

Todd: Two of the hijackers were sitting in first class near the cockpit. A third one was sitting near the back of the coach section. The two up front got into the cockpit somehow; there was shouting. The third hijacker said he had a bomb. It looks like a bomb. He’s got it tied to his waist with a red belt of some kind.

Lisa: So, is the door to the cockpit open?

Todd: No, the hijackers shut it behind them.

Lisa: Has anyone been injured?

Todd: Yes, ..they…they killed one passenger sitting in first class. There’s been lots of shouting. We don’t know if the pilots are dead or alive. A flight attendant told me that the pilot and copilot had been forced from the cockpit and may have been wounded.

Lisa: Where is the third hijacker now Todd?

Todd: He’s near the back of the plane. They forced most of the passengers into first class. There are 14 of us here in the back. Five are flight attendants. He hasn’t noticed that I slipped into this pantry to get the phone. The guy with the bomb ordered us to sit on the floor in the rear of the plane………. Oh, Jesus … Help!

Lisa: Todd….are you okay? Tell me what’s happening!

Todd: Hello…..We’re going down….I think we’re going to crash……Wait – wait a minute. No, we’re leveling off….we’re okay. I think we may be turning around…..That’s it – we changed directions. Do you hear me….we’re flying east again.

Lisa: Okay Todd…. What’s going on with the other passengers?

Todd: Everyone is… really scared. A few passengers with cell phones have made calls to relatives. A guy, Jeremy, was talking to his wife just before the hijacking started. She told him that hijackers had crashed two planes into the World Trade Center……Lisa is that true??

Lisa: Todd…..I have to tell you the truth…..it’s very bad. The World Trade Center is gone. Both of the towers have been destroyed.

Todd: Oh God —help us!

Lisa: A third plane was taken over by terrorists. It crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Our country is under attack….and I’m afraid that your plane may be part of their plan.

Todd: Oh, dear God. Dear God……. Lisa, will you do something for me?

Lisa: I’ll try…. if I can ….Yes.

Todd: I want you to call my wife and my kids for me and tell them what’s happened. Promise me you’ll call.

Lisa: I promise – I’ll call.

Todd: Our home number is (201) 353-1073. You have the same name as my wife…Lisa….We’ve been married for 10 years. She’s pregnant with our third child. Tell her that I love her…….(choking up)…I’ll always love her…(clearing throat). We have two boys…David, he’s three and Andrew, he’s one…..Tell them……(choking) tell them that their daddy loves them and that he is so proud of them. (clearing throat again)… Our baby is due January 12…..I saw an ultra sound…..it was great….we still don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy………Lisa?

Lisa: (barely able to speak) I’ll tell them, I promise Todd.

Todd: I’m going back to the group—if I can get back I will.

Lisa: Todd, leave this line open…are you still there?

Lisa: (dials the phone.) Hello, FBI, my name is Lisa Jefferson, I’m a telephone supervisor for GTE. I need to report a terrorist hijacking of a United Airlines Flight 93….Yes, I’ll hold.

Goodwin: Hello, this is Agent Goodwin… I understand you have a hijacking situation?

Lisa: Yes sir, I’ve been talking with a passenger, a Todd Beamer, on Flight 93 who managed to get to an air phone unnoticed.

Goodwin: Where did this flight originate, and what was its destination?

Lisa: The flight left Newark, New Jersey at 8 a.m. departing for San Francisco. The hijackers took over the plane shortly after takeoff, and several minutes later the plane changed course – it is now flying east.

Goodwin: Ms. Jefferson…I need to talk to someone aboard that plane. Can you get me through to the plane’s phone?

Lisa: I still have that line open, sir. I can patch you through on a conference call…hold a moment…..

Todd: Hello Lisa, Lisa are you there?

Lisa: Yes, I’m here. Todd, I made a call to the FBI, Agent Goodwin is on the line and will be talking to you as well.

Todd: The others all know that this isn’t your normal hijacking. Jeremy called his wife again on his cell phone. She told him more about the World Trade Center and all.

Goodwin: Hello, Todd. This is Agent Goodwin with the FBI. We have been monitoring your flight. Your plane is on a course for Washington, D.C. These terrorists sent two planes into the World Trade Center and one plane into the Pentagon. Our best guess is that they plan to fly your plane into either the White House or the United States Capitol Building.

Todd: I understand…hold on…I’ll…….I’ll be back.

Lisa: Mr. Goodwin, how much time do they have before they get to Washington?

Goodwin: Not long, ma’am. They changed course over Cleveland; they’re approaching Pittsburgh now. Washington may be twenty minutes away.

Todd: (breathing a little heavier). The plane seems to be changing directions just a little. It’s getting pretty rough up here. The plane is flying real erratic….We’re not going to make it out of here. Listen to me….I want you to hear this….I have talked with the others….we have decided we would not be pawns in these hijackers’ suicidal plot.

Lisa: Todd, what are you going to do?

Todd: We’ve hatched a plan. Four of us are going to rush the hijacker with the bomb. After we take him out, we’ll break into the cockpit. A stewardess is getting some boiling water to throw on the hijackers at the controls. We’ll get them…and we’ll take them out. Lisa, will you do one last thing for me?

Lisa: Yes…What is it?

Todd: Would you pray with me?

They pray: Our father which art in Heaven

Hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive our trespassers,

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory

Forever…..Amen

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…

He makes me to lie down in green pastures

He leads me beside the still waters

He restores my soul

He leads me in paths of righteousness

for His name’s sake

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.

Todd: (softer). God help me…Jesus help me…(clears throat and louder). Are you guys ready?……..Let’s roll!!

All 44 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft (including the four hijackers) were killed when the plane, west of Cleveland, abruptly turned southeast towards Washington, D.C.  and started to descend. When it crashed into Shanksville, Pennsylvania, it was about 20 minutes flying time from the nation’s capital.

 

 

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3 Responses to Planting Flags on the Village Green — And Honoring the Heroes on Flight 93

  1. Diane Dayton says:

    There are many residents of Pacific Palisades who lost loved ones in 9/11.
    Please do not make it about politics.
    Those trapped in the buildings had to make a choice
    – do I burn to death or jump ?
    Do not ever make it about politics

  2. Lee Calvert says:

    Thank you, Sue – for this REAL drama — I could feel it – I’m sure it was like the time my brother went down in a B24 in WWII – he was a navigator and the whole crew went down together …he’s buried in Westwood – I was only 17 1/2 and I still miss him …we were very close …, this should never have happened – such a price to pay for our country….. xxxxooo Lee Calvert

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