On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, United Airlines Flight 93 did not arrive at its destination. Most Americans recall without prompting the events of that day. Aggrieved radicals, making a point of their dissatisfaction with our society, decided to teach us a lesson in the form of mass murder. With most tragedy, there are tales of heroism. There are stories of the best of us to counter the obvious examples of the worst. In coming to know that their lives were surely to be soon taken, a group of daring passengers refused to go silently into that good night. They refused to allow the villains to reap the full pleasure of their heinous acts. In rushing the cockpit, they’d either take control of the guided missile upon which they found themselves or drive it into the open fields below. Their sacrifice might allow others to survive.
Even as he headed to his own execution, Todd Beamer entreated the cellular operator to call his young wife and say that he loved her. It must have resembled an epic moment from a modern remake of “Romeo and Juliet.” At home, Lisa Beamer must have clung to their young sons, 3-year-old David and baby Drew. Leading the resistance, Todd dropped the phone and was last heard to proclaim, “OK, let’s roll.”
Life is filled with many moments of both importance and inconsequence. They come to us as we are – ready or not. Sure, not having our car keys in hand as we walk through a darkened shopping center parking lot is likely inconsequential. Or it may predict our demise at the hand of an armed robber. Can we prepare after the fact, or do we have to be ready to roll when life demands it? What is the price if we choose not to be?