The Truth about United 93

So one of the places we hit on the way back from Canada was the United Airlines Flight 93 Memorial (Note, the use of the name United appears nowhere within the memorial).

First, personally: I've always accepted the official story as truth, and I was deeply moved by my visit. It took a lot to hold back tears.

That said, my visit brought more questions about the crash than it answered. While I don't want to buy into conspiracy theories, the one fact I can't get over is the F-16 that chased flight 93.

What fighter-jet right? Apparently the official story is two un-armed fighters jets planned to ram the aircraft if it made it to Washington, but that makes no sense when there was plenty of time, and certainly armed jets sit ready to be scrambled. There was nearly a half-dozen documented first-hand accounts of a white or gray jet in pursuit (including several news reports) of the airliner before it crashed, and just using a little common sense about the most trigger-happy country on Earth: us (who spends billions of dollars on military) suggests,that (not) scrambling of F-16 (or F-15s) on flight 93 was either the biggest military goof ever- or (and more likely) we were on that bird's tail like a horse on a mare.

There's enough evidence to say that it's a fact, that at the very least, a F-16 was in pursuit of the jet, and by some accounts, that it had caught up to Flight 93. To me this seems likely considering that the government had approximately a half hour of time from its flight path change to its crash.

A F-16, at a top speed of Mach 2, can cover about 700 miles in that time.

The consensus is these air-crafts came out of Langley, Va, though they could have came out of almost any Air-Force base east of the Rockies and had made it. For instance, Langley is less than 300 miles from where UAL93 crashed, meaning in 21 minutes a F16 could have caught up to the flight. From Andrews, in Maryland: half that time.

So considering it's almost certain a F-16 caught up to it, and Fox reported it shot-down (officially mistaken), that Cheney alluded to the fact Bush and himself "would have approved a shoot down" if a passenger airline threatened the White House, and that Rumsfield made an accidental mistake of saying Flight 93 was shot down (rather than crashed) [all Google-able on Youtube]- I'm now more confused than ever!

Of course the official story revolves around a single statement made from a passenger to his wife: "Don't worry, we're going to do something." which led to a unprecedented passenger revolt to retake the cockpit. The effort failed (though some believe they were successful), and the plane crashed after the terrorists decided to end it. Both these actions by the passengers and terrorists seem extraordinary odd unless you consider the nothing to lose, there's a fighter jet at my six possibility, where they then seem rather rational. The official story is these were extraordinary people who committed an unprecedented act of heroism and self-sacrifice. Indeed it's how I'd prefer to remember them (as would most people).

Ignoring my Spidey-sense, I found my visit to the crash site in PA did little to help my skepticism. As I watched a group of American, oxygen tank toting visitors standing in front of the passenger list, I was shocked to learn how few people were on the aircraft. Including passenger and crew, only fourty people were on-board an aircraft configured for about 250 passengers. This bird was as empty as a KOA in Compton. Most of the passenger's were old, like late 30s-70s (with a couple of 20 year olds). Interestingly half of those aboard were female, at least one passenger was pregnant, and of course, all names of the terrorists have been omitted from the memorial. I'm not sure what any of this means, other than it was a very unique flight to begin with.

At the Flight 93 Memorial, you're not allowed to visit the actual crater (which one did not [appear] to exist at the time of my visit, a decade after the crash). The memorial sits about .5 miles from the actual crash site which can be seen from a distance, marked by a rock which we're told is approximately where it crashed (the actual memorial wall is the exact flight path). It's clear something happened here as nearby new trees (about a decade old) border older ones. There's no doubt something went down here, but then there's the matter of the eight mile debris field as a part of the official record (which includes an engine found miles away). Does a airplane crashing at 700 MPH into the ground, eject its own debris eight miles away? Seems plausible, yet all I could think about was last semester while studying Tourism Geography, and learning about KAL007, a Korean passenger jet that was shot down in the eighties by Russia. The story, the debris field, seemed all strikingly similar.

As we drove away from the memorial and headed down into West Virginia, Edward Snowden's charges were being announced over NPR. Snowden has threatened, if America pursues him, he will release more secrets. Part of me wondered what would happen if Flight 93 was a lie. If it was shot down, how would that effect America? Maybe it wouldn't? Perhaps we all accept the greater good is more important than a few (I don't), but then if that were true, why lie?

The truth is Flight 93 wasn't shot down, the F-16 never caught up, and as the dozens of hand-written letters at the memorial suggest: they're heroes, and our lord Jesus has taken them to a better place (as written on several notes posted at the Flight 93 memorial). The truth just sounds beautifully tragic.


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