Vice President Mike Pence revealed on Wednesday that he keeps a copy of a book that once belonged to a man killed on United Airlines Flight 93 as a reminder of the atrocities that were carried out during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“Two years ago, on this occasion, I toured the memorial museum, and there, I took note of one of the possessions of a passenger that was recovered at the crash sight,” Pence told a crowd during the 9/11 anniversary memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“Among what was left of what Todd Beamer brought on board was a book entitled ‘A Life of Integrity’ by Howard Hendricks,” he explained. “As I looked at the display through the glass, I was struck by the book’s title and how perfectly it represented what the men and women of Flight 93 demonstrated that day 18 years ago.”
“Shortly thereafter, I purchased a copy of the same edition of that devotional book,” Pence continued. “And it has flown with me every single day since on Air Force Two as a quiet tribute not just to the man, but to all the passengers and crew of Flight 93 for all you’ve done for us.”
Speaking at the commemoration of the hijacked Flight 93, Pence credited the airline crew and passengers who fought back against the four hijacking al-Qaeda terrorists.
“For what your loved ones did for my little family and countless others in our nation’s capital that day, thank you,” the vice president said.
The Flight 93 National Memorial marks the site where the plane went down just after 10:00 A.M. on September 11th, 2001. After passengers were alerted that hijacked Flight 77 had struck the Pentagon and Flights 11 and 175 had struck the World Trade Center towers, the passengers of Flight 93 voted to storm the cockpit.
Because of the passengers’ revolt, the plane ultimately plummeted in the empty field just 20 minutes’ flying time from Washington, D.C. Many believed that the White House was the intended target of Flight 93.
“I think an act of heroism just took place on that plane,” then-Vice President Dick Cheney is reported to have said upon learning of the crash.
“When heroes fall, words fail, for ‘no greater love has a man than this that he should lay down his life for his friends.’ This then is what the heroes of Flight 93 did,” Pence said. “And it’s important that we tell their story. I’m grateful that all of you are here today to hear it one more time.”
“It’s important that we tell their stories, because as has already been observed, a whole generations of Americans has come of age with no personal memory of 9/11, so the rest of us, my fellow Americans, must tell the story,” he continued. “We must never forget and never fail to honor the memory of those who were lost here, in New York City, and in Washington D.C.”
“And this we will do,” Pence added. “We will tell their story. We will honor their memory always.”