In this newsletter, we want to share our first-ever Veterans Day trip to the National Flight 93 Memorial. Students and teachers from Wakefield School in The Plains, Virginia, along with a small group of our veteran volunteers, experienced a unique and memorable trip that made an indelible impression on all who participated. The group flew on two Cessna Grand Caravans provided by Southern Airways Express from Dulles International Airport to the memorial. Upon arrival, they were treated to moving words of wisdom and encouragement from Mr. David and Mrs. Peggy Beamer, parents of Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer (Todd’s last recorded words were “Let’s Roll” as the passengers and crew of the flight stormed the cockpit on the morning of 9/11). Mr. Beamer shared stories of Todd’s childhood, his favorite memories of Todd as a young man, and the story of what happened on that fateful day. He also asked the students to complete three “homework” assignments:

  1. The last conversation that Mr. Beamer had with his son ended with the words “I love you.” Tell your loved ones that you love them and give them a hug every single day.  You won’t regret it.
  2. Todd said “Let’s Roll,” before the counter-attack. When you think of that, think about doing the right thing. For example, if you see someone doing something wrong, like being a bully or talking ill of others behind their back, say something.
  3. Tell someone in uniform “thank you” for their service. This includes the military, police, and other first responders.

Mr. Beamer’s words of wisdom struck a chord with the students and each of them was moved by the courageous story of Todd Beamer and was inspired to celebrate his legacy by honoring Mr. Beamer’s assignments.

Following the meeting with Mr. Beamer, students browsed the Visitor’s Center and Museum and walked to the Memorial Plaza to take in the serenity of the Wall of Names at the original crash site. Shortly thereafter, it was time to eat lunch and quickly return to Johnstown Airport to return home. Following the trip, one student remarked that it was the best school trip he had ever been on, and even though it had just ended, he wanted to know if there would be a chance to return again. His sentiments were echoed by the rest of the group, demonstrating the power of the story of Flight 93 to inspire young people today. We will continue to provide this experience for as many students as we can, and we are honored to do so.

Below is a small collection of photographs from our trip.