Tom Burnett, other Flight 93 heroes remembered at 9/11 Pennsylvania memorial

memorial panel
MinnPost photo by Joe Kimball
Tom Burnett’s name is featured on the memorial wall
in Pennsylvania.

While much of the Sept. 11 remembrance focuses on New York City and the World Trade Center site Tuesday — the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks — the heroes of Flight 93 were also remembered at the National Memorial in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Tom Burnett, who grew up in Bloomington, was one of the passengers on the flight, hijacked in New Jersey by terrorists who apparently planned to crash it into a major U.S. landmark, most likely the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

When passengers on the flight surmised the terrorists’ plan, they banded together and attacked the hijackers. Faced with the possibility of losing control of the plane, the terrorists crashed the plane into an old Pennsylvania coal field.

Tuesday morning at the memorial site, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, there was an open-air service that including a reading of the names of the Flight 93 passengers and crew, ringing of the Bells of Remembrance, a wreath laying and brief remarks.

Interpretive programs continue through the day.

Burnett, who played football in Bloomington and went to the University of Minnesota, was living in California at the time; he was married and had three young girls. He was returning home that day from a business meeting in New Jersey.

Portraits of the crew and passengers of Flight 93
MinnPost photo by Joe Kimball
Portraits of the crew and passengers of Flight 93

He called his wife, Deena, from the plane and told her they were going to die, but he and others were going to do something.

Burnett’s picture is displayed at the Memorial, along with pictures of the other passengers and crew members.

A wall of names, with a large panel devoted to each victim, lines the path of the plane’s descent and impact.

Officials have begun building a visitors’ center in the memorial grounds that will overlook the crash site.

We visited the site last month and left in awe of the courage of those who fought back and died.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Cynthia Bemis Abrams on 09/12/2012 - 07:14 am.

    Bloomington Salutes Tom Burnett

    Tom Burnett’s character and sacrifice are honored and discussed in Bloomington throughout the year, not just on September 11th. His high school classmates sponsored a large rock with an inscription of one of Tom’s quotes and it sits atop the hill overlooking the Bloomington Jefferson football field and track. Every Jefferson student knows of Tom Burnett, the Burnett family and Tom’s sacrifice. Our middle schools have done a great job of embedding his story into our character education. Thomas Burnett Day is held each spring and sends 8th graders out into the community to do good works

    Surely the most visible tribute to Tom’s memory is that so many worked to have the West Bloomington Post Office named for him. The invisible tribute happens daily as well, as parents, grandparents and teachers tell his story of leadership, courage and sacrifice.

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