Reporter shares heroic stories of Flight 93 victims

Caitlyn Wachovec

WATCH video of the Flight 93 Memorial Service.

WATCH & HEAR people talk about their memories of 9/11.

“Ordinary people can rise to extraordinary circumstances,” Jeré Longman, author of “Among Heroes,” told a room full of Kent State students yesterday in the FirstEnergy Interactive Auditorium at Franklin Hall.

Longman and family members of Flight 93 victims talked as part of Heroes Week about his book to keep Flight 93 from becoming a “forgotten flight.” Together they’re dispelling conspiracy theories and misconceptions about the events that led to the plane crash.

“The book was necessary to know the events of that day,” said Maury Guadagno, a speaker and a family member of a Flight 93 victim. “From a families’ perspective, you don’t want the public to think there were only a handful of people (stopping the terrorists).”

Guadagno’s cousin, Richard Guadagno, was on Flight 93. Richard was a Federal Wildlife Refuge manager from California. He was visiting family in New Jersey for four days before getting on Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I’m so very proud of my cousin, as long as I live,” said Guadagno.

Sandy Felt also expressed her happiness about Longman’s book and that people would know her story. Her husband, Ed, was finally identified a year after the crash as the passenger who called 911 from his cell phone on the plane that day. Felt was left to raise her two daughters after the death of her husband.

Longman, who is a sports writer for The New York Times, explained that he desperately wanted to share the stories of all 40 passengers of Flight 93. He said that at first he was hesitant to try to write this book. Once Longman realized that the victims’ families would open up and share their stories, he became more invested in the research.

“In this flight, there’s probably more that we don’t know than we do,” he said. “There have been a lot of conspiracies about this plane.”

There were discrepancies about whether there were three or four hijackers on the plane and how the passengers finally got into the cockpit, if they did. There were also theories dispelled by the 9/11 Commission that the plane was shot down.

The families present said they were pleased with Longman’s book. It was important to them for people to know that all 40 people on Flight 93 were heroes.

“It was a remarkable group of people on that plane,” Longman said. “Their accomplishments lay in bold efforts.”

Contact ROTC reporter Caitlyn Wachovec at [email protected].