Sunday, July 25, 2004

Let's roll

The 9/11 Commission's report provides new information about Flight 93:
At 9:57, about seven minutes before the end, one of the passengers ended her phone conversation saying: "Everyone's running up to first class. I've got to go. Bye."

Soon after, Ziad Jarrah, sitting at the controls, began rolling the plane to thwart the passengers. Just after 10 a.m., he is heard on the cockpit voice recorder saying: "Is that it? Shall we finish it off?"

But another hijacker responds: "No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off."

The voice recorder captured sounds of continued fighting, and Mr. Jarrah pitched the plane up and then down. A passenger is heard to say: "In the cockpit. If we don't we'll die!"

Then a passenger yelled, "Roll it!" While earlier accounts reported the phrase as "Let's roll," which was repeated in speeches by President Bush and became the title of a best-seller, some aviation experts have speculated that this was actually a reference to a food cart, being used as a battering ram.

Mr. Jarrah "stopped the violent maneuvers" about 10:01, according to the report.

"He then asked another hijacker in the cockpit, 'Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?' to which the other replied, 'Yes.' '' Eighty seconds later, a hijacker is heard to say: "Pull it down! Pull it down!"

Soon after, the plane plunged into a field in Shanksville, Pa., about 20 minutes flying time from Washington.
"Let's roll" is one of those things that, if isn't true, it ought to be. In any case, the heroes of flight 93 are heroes for what they did, not for what they said.

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