I listened to several recordings of people caught in the pathos of the incidents surrounding the 9/11 attacks. The disparity between those who were leaders and those who were led as sheep was appalling.
There was the flight attendant, Ms. Ong, on American flight 11 who calmly assessed the situation and dealt with what she could, calling American Airlines reservations from her cell phone while locked in the cabin facing two stabbed flight attendants, one stabbed passenger, mace, and a locked cockpit door. Ms. Ong is a hero. She did not end up saving any lives, but she did her job, standing by her post, remaining calm, and doing what she could with what she had to try and fix what she could of the situation.
[Warning: These recordings are disturbing, the last one is very disturbing]
There was Kevin Cosgrove who began calmly, telling the 911 dispatcher his location, number, and who was with him, asking that the firefighters be directed to his location. But as the call progresses he begins to panic as he feels his future slipping away. Repeatedly shouting that he is too young to die, he berates the 911 operator, screaming that she bring in fire departments from as far as Ohio in his desperate attempt to foment his rescue. I cannot blame him, judge him, or even critique him for his desperate pleas, I have not faced death as he did. I can only assume that circumstances he is in would break many people, utterly. But you can hear the desperation in his voice as he looks for rescue. His is a voice of hopelessness. He is not ready to meet his maker. He isn’t ready to leave his wife, who he’d just called and told he was on his way out of the building when the second building (his building) is hit. You hear him scream as the building begins to fall, and you know he will soon meet God.
[Video was removed from youtube]
No one is too young to die. It is reasonable to see a young person and assume that they have more life before them than the person in the retirement facility down the street. But we have neither the knowledge nor the control to promise that child will not die in an accident today and that retiree might live for 20 more years, or more. God decides for each our time, we are expected to live our time to its fullest for Him. No more, no less. It is not for us to judge ones readiness to die, but to judge those who kill. God has given government the right of protection and justice, our government has rightly and righteously pursued the perpetrators of this terror.
For Mr. Ong as for Mr. Cosgrove, and for all those people for whom evil has proven fatal, we fight. Whether they died in fear or in courage, whether they were in the towers, at the pentagon, or among the heroes on flight 93. Whether they are American, or the huddled fear-ridden peoples of the middle east who have been terrorized for millenia longer than any of us in the west have.