Flight 93 Families Share Stories

Richard, Bea and Jerry Guardagno CBS/The Early Show

There are indications that flight 93 had been heading towards Washington, with the White House a possible target, when it crashed Sept. 11. A few days ago, CBS News spoke with several family members, to get some personal reflections.

Bea and Jerry Guadagno, parents of Flight 93 passenger Richard Guadagno, remember the day they heard the news. "I was hoping," said Bea Guadagno.
"We knew that a plane went down in Pennsylvania. And we, finally, found out it was his plane. And we were ready to go out the door, if there were any survivors; we were ready to go. And then about 5:30, we heard, there were no survivors."

The memories of his son are still very much alive in Jerry Guadagno's life, making it still hard for him to believe what has happened.

"The minute you get up, the second you get up in the morning, until the very last when you go to sleep at night, and the thousand times in between, he's on our minds," he said.

"The four telephone calls from Tom have been like a gift to me," said Deena Burnett about her husband. "He told me what was going on. That he had put a plan together, that there were several of them that were going to take back the airplane. And I scolded him. I said, 'No, you sit down, be still and be quiet and don't draw attention to yourself.' And he scolded me, he said, 'No, no, we're going to do something. If they're going to crash this plane into the ground, we have to do something.'"

Monique Homer's husband, LeRoy, was also a passenger of Flight 93. "Well, I want America to know what a special young man he was, and he died for his country," she said. "I think he would have tried to reason with them, you know man to man. I think he would have said to them, 'Listen, I have a baby at home. I love her with all my heart, and a wife and a mom, and brothers and sisters... and can you understand that everyone has a family, and there's no reason to kill a whole plane load of people for your cause.'"

Burnett said she cannot beleive the passengers crashed the plane on purpose.

"I've always thought that they just didn't have enough time, that the altitude was too low, that they were successful in getting into the cockpit, that possibly they had their hands on the yoke, that they did not have enough altitude or enough time to get the nose of the airplane up," she said. "I have always believed that and I'll go to my grave believing that."

What is clear for Bea and Jerry Guadagno is that the passengers were very special people.

"This plane was heading for bigger and better targets. Why did it go down in a rural place like Pennsylvania?," said Bea. Her husband Jerry continues, "No question they were taking the plane back, no question it was heading to Washington."

"We knew right away. They were all heroes, they all had something to do," said Bea.

"Everybody on that plane did their part… we're sure of that, they're special people," said Jerry. "We say they were a unique group of people, that were just put together for some reason, and maybe this was the reason."

Monique Homer also is convinced her husband fought back. "It was a group of people who banded together, just like our country should now, against terrorists. You know, they were not afraid, you know, to risk their lives, to fight against these terrorists."

Burnett said it is easy for people, especially those who did not lose someone on Sept. 11, to become complacent.

"I mean I think about our situation, and I have to say to you, 'My husband's dead. He's dead!' And while that may be words to some people, that is a way of life now that the children and I are forced to live. This is a call to action for all of us, not just for the 3,000 families who lost someone that day. This is a wakeup call for each of us to step in and do the right thing, beginning with stopping terrorism," Burnett said.
  • Tatiana Morales

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