Mike Rowe’s powerful reaction to Nike’s controversial move to make national anthem kneeler and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, hits home especially hard on the anniversary of 9/11.
When asked by a fan about his take on the move, the “Dirty Jobs” host explained that while Nike has the right to choose Kaepernick, and Kaepernick has the right to protest, he’d personally go in a much different direction when picking “someone who epitomized bravery and sacrifice.”
“Nike’s free to celebrate whomever they wish, and Kaepernick is entitled to his opinion — kneeling, standing, or lying down. But if I was going to put someone’s face on a billboard — someone who epitomized bravery and sacrifice — I might have gone another way, especially this time of year. I might have gone with this guy — Tom Burnett,” wrote Rowe in a Facebook post on Monday.
Burnett was one of the brave passengers on the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. He and others sacrificed their lives to save fellow Americans, fighting back against the Islamic terrorists on their flight and diverting the plane away from the U.S. Capitol Building, the terrorists’ intended target. Burnett and the rest of the passengers lost their lives when the plane was forced down in a Pennsylvania field.
“Tom’s last act on earth was one of the most courageous things imaginable,” explained Rowe. “And his last words to his wife, Deena, are among the most inspiring I’ve ever heard.”
The host included the transcript of Burnett’s last phone call to his wife. In their last moments together on the phone, Burnett explained to Deena that he and others were going to take the plane back. They were going to do something. Before sacrificing his life for countless others, Burnett asked his wife to pray and told her not to worry:
Tom: We’re waiting until we’re over a rural area. We’re going to take back the airplane.
Deena: No! Sit down, be still, be quiet, and don’t draw attention to yourself!
Tom: Deena! If they’re going to crash this plane into the ground, we’re going to have do something!
Deena: What about the authorities?
Tom: We can’t wait for the authorities. I don’t know what they could do anyway.
It’s up to us. I think we can do it.
Deena: What do you want me to do?
Tom: Pray, Deena, just pray.
(after a long pause)
Deena: I love you.
Tom: Don’t worry, we’re going to do something…
“Those exact words are at the top of this page, and the bottom. They were spoken seventeen years ago, under conditions I hope to never experience. I’ll never forget Tom’s last words. I hope you won’t either,” Rowe said before posting the full transcript (which can be read in-full, below).