“They made the decision we didn’t have to make.”
Those are the words of Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville, as recalled 18 years later in a new account of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks from the perspective of decision-makers in Washington, survivors, military service members and the families of those aboard United Flight 93, which was hijacked before passengers fought back and brought the plane down.
Sasseville — an F-16 Air Force pilot who, along with Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, was tasked with stopping Flight 93 by any means necessary from being weaponized like the jets at the World Trade Center and Pentagon that morning — lauded the brave passengers for doing exactly that, sacrificing themselves to foil the terrorists.
But the new book, “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11” by Garrett M. Graff, details the harrowing moments before it all ended.
Top Bush administration officials scrambled to respond. From a bunker, then-Vice President Dick Cheney planned for the possibility of bringing down Flight 93. As for Sasseville and Penney, they were looking at a suicide mission.