Out of darkness, light. Evil always prompts good to surface, or for us
to recognize it. There is much good to come from this tragedy, though not
enough to balance the scales. That comes later.
But the thing which
gets us, first, is the absolute nobility of the New York Fire
Department. They have been incredible: selfless, sacrificing,
defiant. The NYPD has had some bad things happen in the last few years,
but they have gone a long way towards redeeming themselves. But that Fire
Department - we say they get a serious memorial when this is over. We
heard last night that there were dozens of fire trucks under the rubble.
Over 300 firefighters and police officers are lost. Still, they strap it
on and just work harder. These people represent the best of us.
the passengers on United Flight 93 are believed to have decided to kill the
terrorists, rather than letting them carry out their mission. One man,
Jeremy Glick, called his wife and said he knew he was going to die, so he
and some other passengers were going to try and stop them, them being
"three Mid-Eastern looking men."
The hijackers had apparently
already stabbed one passenger to death.
The reconstruction of the flight
indicates several odd movements, which might be explained by a struggle in the
Imagine now: you are at the back of the plane, and you know what
they want to do, more or less anyway. Your death is assured. You do not
accept their sentence.
Imagine now that you have commandeered this plane from
Americans, who you think you have intimidated, when here they come, charging
into the cockpit, fighting you, making you lose control of the plane. Yes,
you were going to die, but not this way.
Imagine the reversal: those who
assigned death to hundreds or thousands, looking out the window as the earth
rushed up, knowing that you were defied, that you failed. For the passengers,
the triumph is fleeting, but if for even a few seconds they could see terror in
these men's eyes as they realized that they failed and rather than killing, they
were being killed, what a sweet, grim pleasure that must have been to put these
And more importantly, it's not simply an eye for an eye. They saved
a lot of lives. And they made the determination about how they were going
to die themselves.
When you get down to it, if these passengers and the NYFD
are the people who represent the rest of us in the eyes of the world - we could
do a lot worse.