Together everyone was stronger than any one person alone

The following is from a letter by a professional traveler describing her
return flight to D.C. this week.


"I just wanted to drop you all a note and let you know that I arrived
safe and sound into Dulles Airport tonight [9/15] at about 6:00. It was an
interesting flight.

The airport in Denver was almost spooky, it was so empty and quiet. No
one was in line for the security check point when I got there so that went
fairly quickly, just x-ray of my bags and then a chemical test to be
sure nothing explosive was on them.

Then I waited 2 1/2 hours to board the plane. What happened after we
boarded was interesting and thought I would share it with you.
The pilot/captain came on the loudspeaker after the doors were closed.

His speech went like this:
First I want to thank you for being brave enough to fly today. The doors
are now closed and we have no help from the outside for any problems
that might occur inside this plane. As you could tell when you checked in,
the government has made some changes to increase security in the airports.

They have not, however, made any rules about what happens after those
doors close. Until they do that, we have made our own rules and I want to
share them with you. Once those doors close, we only have each other.
The security has taken care of a threat like guns with all of the
increased scanning, etc. Then we have the supposed bomb. If you have a bomb, there
is no need to tell me about it, or anyone else on this plane; you are
already in control. So, for this flight, there are no bombs that exist on this

Now, the threats that are left are things like plastics, wood, knives,
and other weapons that can be made or things like that which can be used as

Here is our plan and our rules. If someone or several people stand up
and say they are hijacking this plane, I want you all to stand up together.
Then take whatever you have available to you and throw it at them. Throw
it at their faces and heads so they will have to raise their hands to
protect themselves.

The very best protection you have against knives are the pillows and
blankets. Whoever is close to these people should then try to get a
blanket over their head--then they won't be able to see. Once that is
done, get them down and keep them there. Do not let them up. I will then land
the plane at the closest place and we WILL take care of them.

After all, there are usually only a few of them and we are 200+ strong!
We will not allow them to take over this plane.

I find it interesting that the US Constitution begins with the words
"We, the people"--that's who we are, THE people and we will not be defeated.

With that, the passengers on the plane all began to applaud, people had
tears in their eyes, and we began the trip toward the runway.

The flight attendant then began the safety speech. One of the things she
said is that we are all so busy and live our lives at such a fast pace.
She asked that everyone turn to their neighbors on either side and
introduce themselves, tell each other something about your families and
children, show pictures, whatever. She said "for today, we consider you
family. We will treat you as such and ask that you do the same with us."

Throughout the flight we learned that for the crew, this was their first
flight since Tuesday's tragedies. It was a day that everyone leaned on
each other and together everyone was stronger than any one person alone. It
was quite an experience.

You can imagine the feeling when that plane touched down at Dulles and
we heard "welcome to Washington Dulles Airport, where the local time is

Again, the cabin was filled with applause.
Dan- Is this first hand knowledge? My cynical side says it sounds too good to be true. I must admit its a great story; regardless of whether its true or not (and I would like it to be true). BTW, I had family stranded here; they flew back to Denver among the first flights leaving CT and all went well.
I have no doubt in my mind, that this letter is based on fact. Thanks Dan, for sharing it with us. As an European, I would say its "typically American" in its mixture of wry humour, directness, single- mindedness of purpose and matter of fact pragmatism. These are traits which seem to come out most stongest in your nation in times of duress! Without that, we here in Europe would all be under the boots of the Nazis, or red or dead! I keep on telling this to my intellectual friends, who feel, that you should turn the other cheek and best not go to fight at all, rather negotiate peacefully and remedy your mistakes in middle east policy, so they could go on living their complacent lives, which they certainly would not have had without the sacrifices America has brought in the last century and is still preparing to bring, to ensure freedom for us all. So, a thankyou from Europe for taking the stand, that you do and God bless you all and your great country!
If that is in fact true, than I (Brian) say Bravo to that flight crew.
It's a good idea, but maybe not as politically correct as some may like (too bad).
Maybe if that speech would have been made before the other flights took off on Sept 11th things might have been different, although I don't want to explore the "what if's" of that terrible day.

FYI, I drove by LAX airport on Sept 21st to see what to expect on an upcoming trip.
Half of the LAPD was there, along with the LAPD buses that brought
(yes, LAPD buses).

Many of the roads around LAX are closed, blocked off by the LAPD.
It looked as if they were preparing for for a war (no joking).
Lets hope not. You now have to park at least 1/2 mile away.
You can no longer drive a private car to the terminals.
They were also stopping every single bus and shuttle before letting them enter.
Many people will now have to be irritated that they can no longer be irritated about airport delays.

Again, bravo to that flight crew.
I don't know if this letter, which was a forwarded email to me, is factual or not. I do know that it speaks to the fact that WE, (civilized human beings,) are always stronger when we stand together.

This burst of collective humanity and brotherhood is a welcomed relief from the self-centered approach popular culture had envisioned for us.

Charlie- agreed. Just wondering and trying unsuccessfully not to let my cynicism show. It doesn't help that a doctored photo was just emailed to me purporting to show a sightseer on the WTC observation deck (did it actually have an open air deck?), with the plane over his shoulder about to crash into the building. This is being circulated as found on film in a camera removed from the debris, with the subject still unaccounted for.
Charlie, great story whether true or not (and I'm guessing it is). Thanks for sharing it.
It will be two weeks tomorrow since the horrible force that befell this country, and indeed the entire world. I have on three prior occasions started to write comments in a couple of the related threads and simply have not had the emotional wherewithal to finish, until I read Detlof's remarks. I thank him for his post and his wisdom.

On Tuesday 9/11 at 9:09 A.M., as I drove north on the New Jersey Tpk. I was shocked out of my "not quite awake yet" stupor by the most unbelievable sight. On my right up ahead, on the other side of the Hudson river, the twin towers were burning. WBGO in Newark informed me of what was happening. I wish I could describe what one feels at a time like that, but I can't. The shock and disbelief numbs one in part. I can only try to imagine what those in the burning buildings trying to get out, or heroically trying to get in felt.

Fifty minutes earlier I had dropped my ten year old son (the real Frogman) off at school in Brooklyn NY; a little earlier than usual, as I had to be in Newark NJ by ten. At that point of my trip I have two choices, through Staten Island to NJ, or through lower Manhattan, just past and underneath the WTC, to the Holland tunnel. I chose the Staten Island route. The sense of relief and almost petty self-congratulation that I felt for having chosen what had been the safest route, and not the one that would have put me smack in the middle of the devastation did not last long once I realized what a small inconvenience it was that I would be stranded in NJ for what would end up being thirty six hours, unable to get back into New York, let alone Brooklyn. I have never wanted to hug that ten year old boy as badly as I did that day.

NYC and this country as a whole has been changed forever. The feeling in NYC over the last thirteen days has been indescribable. The sound, the rhythm of the city is palpable in it's difference, absence, and sadness. The look on the faces of people on the streets and in the subways says it all. The feeling one gets upon entering one's home for the first time in thirty six hours and noticing that the smell of the destruction is trapped inside is very moving to us the lucky ones. But all the traits of the people of this country that Detlof so well describes are there in spades; more than ever. I hear people greeting each other more than ever, acts of kindness by ordinary folks are everywhere, inspired by the incredible generosity and heroism demonstrated by many.

As a ten year old boy myself I came to the US with family to escape the politics of Fidel Castro. I am indebted to this country for allowing my family and I to make this our home. I am proud to be an American; today more than ever. Despite it's mistakes and excesses, this was and continues to be the greatest country on the planet. What this country and it's people have demonstrated over the last thirteen days is awe inspiring. What a great example for the world to see. As far as the politics of it all, I have nothing to add to Detlof's comments.

I believe that in time this event will be seen, in spite of the horror, to have been the turning point to a better America and a better world. The forces of evil can not win over the collective good that the people of this planet are capable of. God bless America and our world.
...whatever happened inside of hijacked planes before we can only assume that there weren't enough time for passengers to realize that planes had been hijacked. Probably only on one that crashed on the fields of Pensilvanya had a fight between passengers and terrorists.
Now we only can only speak to each other in different ways about what lesson we've just had and what has been done after to prevent such "lessons"