More Heroes For My Wall

More Heroes For My Wall

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

Two or three blogs ago, I told you about the wall in my office that was “littered” with photos and other things. I call it my heroes wall because most of the photos on the wall are of people I consider to be my heroes. I’ve added to that wall just recently. Let me tell you about the two who were put there.
Major Heather Penney, USAF (retired) and Col. Marc Sasseville, USAF (retired) are the recent additions. These two exemplify the best in humanity and service. You probably don’t recognize them by their names, so let me fill you in.
These two airmen were F-16 pilots at the turn of the century. They were on duty on the day the Twin Towers fell due to terrorism, September 11, 2001. As you recall, several commercial planes were hijacked that day, and rammed the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. Another plane, Flight 93, was in the air, hijacked, and headed toward Washington D.C.
The government ordered all air space evacuated immediately, except for military. Penney and Sasseville were stationed along the East Coast. The order was given to the Air Force to get planes in the air, find flight 93, and take it down before it could ram the Capitol, the White House, or some other building. Penney and Sasseville were tasked to carry out that order.
The planes they flew had been on a training mission and had no weapons aboard. It would take some hours to equip the planes with weapons, so Penney and Sasseville hatched a plan to find Flight 93. One would ram the cockpit and the other would ram the tail…and not eject prior to the collisions in order to assure that the ejections would not change the course of the fighters. In other words, they were on a suicide mission. Additionally, Penney believed her father was the pilot on Flight 93.
They didn’t have to do that, of course. Flight 93 crashed after a revolt of the passengers aboard the plane. There is disagreement whether the hijackers intentionally crashed it or it crashed due to other factors.
But there is no disputing the actions of Sasseville and Penney…two heroes now on my wall. Their willingness to give it all exemplify the best of humanity. A reporter asked Penney ten years later about her actions. He summarized them by saying something to the effect of, “So, you would intentionally give your life by ramming the plane in order to bring it down.” Penney simply replied, “Of course.” There was dead silence for several seconds while the reporter absorbed what she had just said.
I have more heroes to add to the wall, and will tell you about them as I do that. For now, know that there are people in this world who are able to do extraordinary things, even in natural weakness, because (I believe), God gives them the strength to endure and finish the task. It is an honor to me to be able to honor these people (and animals) in this way.

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