Despite the unprecedented magnitude of the horrific September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, the terrifying events which transpired failed utterly and completely to break the spectacular spirit of the American people. One of America’s most painful hours ultimately became one of its finest as well, as ordinary citizens across the nation performed countless spontaneous acts of heroism and kindness. Some of the most dramatic acts were those of the incredibly brave passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93, who sacrificed their lives to prevent their hijacked aircraft from being used as a weapon of mass destruction. The heroic spirit of ordinary American women in 2001 is also epitomized by the inspirational attitude and amazing resilience of Lisa Beamer, mother of three and widow of Todd Beamer, one of the heroes of Flight 93 who led the struggle against its hijackers. Personally recognized by President Bush during his historic address to Congress following the September 11 attacks, Beamer defiantly completed the same Newark-to-San Francisco flight on which her husband had tragically perished. “I want to show people it’s safe to get back on an airplane. We can’t let ourselves be held captive by terrorism.” Her brave “flight against fear” encouraged people to fly again and elevated the American spirit, serving as a strong public statement of confidence to the nation and providing a powerful demonstration of American perseverance to the entire world.
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