On September 11, 2001, thirty-two year old Todd Beamer boarded United Airlines Flight 93 at Newark International Airport, heading for San Francisco International Airport. An account representative for Oracle, Beamer had a scheduled meeting with a SONY representative in San Francisco.
Beamer and his wife, Lisa, had just returned from a week’s holiday in Rome the day before. So, maybe, he was shaking off the effects of jet lag and settling into his seat for a long nap after the plane departed forty-two minutes late (8:42 AM).
Yet, no matter what he was doing, forty-six minutes later (9:28 AM), Beamer and the rest of the passengers’ lives were forever changed.
Four Islamic Jihaddists, members of Al Qaeda, hijacked the plane. At least two people were killed and the rest of the passengers were herded to the back of the plane. One hijacker said he had a bomb and would blow up the plane if the passengers resisted in any way.
Several of the passengers called on their cell phones and learned about the two planes crashing into the World Trade Center Towers. Beamer contacted Lisa Jefferson, a GTE Airfone supervisor, and told her what was happening on Flight 93.
Beamer stayed connected on the phone with Jefferson as he and others plotted to storm the cockpit and retake the plane. A vote was taken and a plan was agreed upon.
But before Beamer and his group set off, Beamer prayed the Lord’s Prayer with Jefferson and also said, “If I don’t make it, please call my family and let them know how much I love them.”
Then, there were muffled sounds over the phone and Beamer’s voice could be heard saying, “Are you guys ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”
Minutes later the plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, PA (10:02 AM). Of the four hijacked planes on September 11, 2001, it was the only one not to hit its assigned target.
Let’s look at the options Todd Beamer and the others in the group felt they had on that fateful day aboard Flight 93:
Option #1: Do nothing and die.
Option #2: Fight and die, with the hope that they might at least spoil the enemies’s plans.
In their minds, there was no third option because they thought one of the hijackers had a bomb strapped to his waist. So, when they stormed the cockpit on that day, they believed they would die. And they did.
When the plane crashed, it was just twenty minutes away from its expected target: either the White House or the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Okay, what about us?
Like Flight 93, I believe America has been hijacked and is headed for a crash. Who the hijackers are (or were) no longer matters because there is more than enough guilt for all of us to share a piece of it. And it no longer really matters who takes over the cockpit – a Republican or Democrat or Whoever- because I truly believe America is going to crash.
As for our options, I believe we Americans have two similar ones to what Todd Beamer and his group had on September 11, 2001.
At that time the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse. But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep. You feast on meat and drink wine. You say, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:12-13)
Just like Israel, we can either mourn our sins through fasting and prayer or we can party and enjoy ourselves right up to the end. The choice is up to each one of us.
Who knows? Maybe like Beamer and his group, we can mess up our enemies’ and Satan’s plan for America.
So, as for me, I intend on praying and fasting for our hijacked nation on each Tuesday in the future. If you can, join me.