- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2001

Worth repeating
Over the airplane's public-address system came a most incredible announcement from the captain of United Flight 564 as it was about to pull out of the gate at Denver International Airport last Saturday, writes Peter Hannaford, a public-affairs consultant in Washington and former adviser to President Reagan.
"I want to thank you brave folks for coming out today," the pilot began. "We don't have any new instructions from the federal government, so from now on, we're on our own."
The passengers listened in total silence.
"Sometimes a potential hijacker will announce that he has a bomb. There are no bombs on this aircraft and if someone were to get up and make that claim, don't believe him. If someone were to stand up, brandish something such as a plastic knife and say, 'This is a hijacking' or words to that effect, here is what you should do:
"Every one of you should stand up and immediately throw things at that person pillows, books, magazines, eyeglasses, shoes anything that will throw him off balance and distract his attention. If he has a confederate or two, do the same with them. Most important: get a blanket over him, then wrestle him to the floor and keep him there. We'll land the plane at the nearest airport and the authorities will take it from there.
"Remember, there will be one of him and maybe a few confederates, but there are 200 of you. Now, since we're a family for the next few hours, I'll ask you to turn to the person next to you, introduce yourself, tell them a little about yourself and ask them to do the same."
The end of this remarkable speech, Mr. Hannaford says, brought sustained clapping from the passengers.

Three heroes
Unfortunately, only 38 passengers were aboard hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 when "three Arab-looking men with red headbands" stormed the cockpit last Tuesday, Sept. 11.
All on board were aware of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, and at least three were determined that their plane not become yet another guided missile aimed at a U.S. target.
"There's three of us who are going to do something about it," passenger Tom Burnett assured his wife, Deena.
The two other brave souls are said to have been Jeremy Glick and Mark Bingham.
Moments after the three telephoned their loved ones to say goodbye, the Boeing 757 crashed into the Pennsylvania countryside, far from the White House and Capitol, two of the reported targets.
On behalf of these three men now deemed "heroes," and the other passengers aboard Flight 93, the Capitol Heroes Campaign has been incorporated by three businessmen in Washington to assist the families of the deceased.
Contributions personal, corporate or charitable should be sent to the Capitol Heroes Campaign, P.O. Box 66283, Washington, D.C. 20035-6283.
The address will also serve as a clearinghouse for any correspondence or other expressions of sympathy to the heroes' survivors.

Bizarre Day
Michael Day, chief of staff to Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez, New York Democrat, and minority staff director for the Small Business Committee, was ducking reporters yesterday, and for good reason.
The Hill newspaper first broke the story that last Tuesday, as U.S. Capitol Police officers evacuated congressional office buildings for fear that another hijacked jet would come crashing through the Capitol dome, Mr. Day, according to a source, instructed that any staffers who left the office should be charged a vacation day.
"Staffers who had not left at that point were told that they would lose a day of vacation if they went home, regardless of the fact that the entire congressional leadership had been whisked away to a secure location and almost every other office had closed," The Hill wrote.
Not only that, the newspaper added, police were threatening to arrest staffers who refused to leave their offices.
Mr. Day did not return our telephone calls.

Politics amid crisis
Victoria Clarke, the assistant defense secretary for public affairs, held a conference call this week with Capitol Hill press secretaries to answer questions surrounding last week's attack on the Pentagon and the war against terrorism.
At one point during the conversation, a congressional aide who participated in the conference call tells us, a spokesman for Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat, inquired whether the congressman might be allowed to tour the site of the Pentagon tragedy.
Yes, replied Mrs. Clarke, that could be arranged.
At which point, says the aide, the spokesman for Rep. Michael R. McNulty, New York Democrat, asked if a camera crew might be able to accompany the congressman on a tour of the destruction.

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