From First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech at the memorial of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania:
The men and women of Flight 93 were college students and grandparents. They were businessmen, pilots, and flight attendants. There was a writer, an antique dealer, a lawyer, an engineer.
They came from all different backgrounds and all walks of life, and they all took a different path to that September morning.
But in that awful moment when the facts became clear, and they were called to make an impossible choice, they all found the same resolve.
They agreed to the same bold plan.
They called the people they loved –- many of them giving comfort instead of seeking it, explaining they were taking action, and that everything would be okay.
And then they rose as one, they acted as one, and together, they changed history’s course.
And in the days that followed, when we learned about the heroes of Flight 93 and what they had done, we were proud, we were awed, we were inspired, but I don’t think any of us were really surprised, because it was clear that these 40 individuals were no strangers to service and to sacrifice. For them, putting others before themselves was nothing new because they were veterans, and coaches, and volunteers of all sorts of causes.
There was the disability rights advocate who carried a miniature copy of the Constitution everywhere she went.
There was the Census director who used to return to the homes she’d canvassed to drop off clothing and food for families in need.
There was the couple who quietly used their wealth to make interest-free loans to struggling families.
And to this day, they remind us -– not just by how they gave their lives, but by how they lived their lives -– that being a hero is not just a matter of fate, it’s a matter of choice.
I think that Jack Grandcolas put it best –- his wife, Lauren, was one of the passengers on the flight — and he said: “They were ordinary citizens thrown into a combat situation. No one was a general or a dictator. Their first thought was to be selfless. They knew ‘There was a 98 percent chance we’re not going to make it, but let’s save others’.”
The men and women on that plane had never met the people whose lives they would save -– yet they willingly made the sacrifice.
Hit the link above and read her entire, very moving presentation.