On the eleventh of September, United Airlines Flight 93 was one of four commercial airliners hijacked by terrorists. When they realized that the choices were to die or to die fighting, forty courageous passengers and crew members voted to fight back. Todd Beamer mobilized the resistance by saying “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.” They ultimately thwarted an attack on the US capital, and saved the lives of many others, but sacrificed their own in a Pennsylvania field. "They boarded the plane as strangers, and they entered eternity linked forever as true heroes," the US President observed seventeen years later.
Another 9/11 Hero
Zechariah Cartledge ran the annual "NYC Tunnel to Towers" race in memory of Port Authority Police Officer Walwyn Stuart, who had helped evacuate the PATH station in the World Trade Center prior to joining the rescue effort in the North Tower before his death. The nine-year-old Floridian and his family raised more than $11,000 USD, which they donated to the Tunnel to Tower foundation. Zechariah led the Port Authority contingent in the race and carried their flag. After the race, Zechariah spent some time with Stuart's widow, giving her a letter praising her husband's heroism along with a big hug!
The last of the boxes was packed and sealed and loaded into the car. They looked at it and she wondered if it would all fit into the tiny apartment with its even smaller cupboards, which there weren't that many of either.
"Are you ready?" her mother asked and she gave her a brave smile.
"Of course," she answered with more confidence than she might be entirely able to support, but there was no need to let her mother know that. She would have courage for the both of them and soon, hopefully, she would start to feel it too.
The train station was no fuller or emptier than usual; to all the other passengers today was an entirely normal day with nothing out of the ordinary.
Not for her though. No one would have been able to tell by looking at her though; she looked even more like the regular passengers than usual in fact, because this time she wasn't carrying a huge backpack and instead of the ticket being valid to travel through the entire country, she had one to just the next town over. And yet today was special. Today was her first day at a new job.
The Girl Who Lived
As a cancer survivor, I get called brave all the time. But bravery to me is about making a choice, even if it’s just to handle something with compassion and poise. I had no choice but to withstand what and how I did: there was no other option open to me. Surviving cancer isn’t what I want anyone to define my courage and inner strength by.
It says nothing about my character. My survival was someone else’s victory and my emotional resilience came from those around me. My goal in life is to discover a courage that is truly mine.
Worse to Us
He backed away, then dodged behind a post. “It’s just a chicken. What’s it gonna do, peck you to death?” she asked.
“One chased me as a kid. I can’t help it.” He grimaced, “I know it’s stupid.”
“I’ve seen you skydive,” she said, incredulous.
“So?” he asked.
“So, this is child’s play!”
“We all have things that seem worse to us. Like how you broke your foot and didn’t complain but will whine for hours over a papercut.”
She sighed, hands on her hips. Slowly, he moved out from behind the post and watched the bird bobbing its head.
I knew what I was about to do would be difficult, but I also knew that if I wanted to survive, I didn't have a choice. I was shaking as my legs carried me forward, my footsteps falling one by one. I was alone and scared. Once I crossed that threshold, there was no turning back. It felt like I was selling away my soul, but I needed to realize that I was saving it. The unknown, what would come, was what terrified me the most, but by moving onward, I gave myself strength. I finally stepped through the door.
People say I should protect myself and not share my stories, but I tell them that I don't have a choice but to share them. If I keep my words hidden, I am only giving truth to the words told to me so long ago that my voice should remain silent. I am tired of living in the dark, and I will not be silenced any longer. I speak not only for myself, but I have the ability to speak up for those who have yet to find their own voice. I am not a victim. I am a fighter.
Vanessa looked into the dark cave but it was pointless. You couldn't see anything but black. "Why?" Vanessa asked herself and sighed. "Why did the stupid soccer ball have to roll into that cave?" Vanessa shook her head and continued to peer into the darkness. "Well, standing here isn't going to get the ball back so you better get in there." Vanessa said to herself. Vanessa took a moment to gather her courage up. "I can do this!" Vanessa exclaimed! Vanessa started walking up to the entrance of the cave. "I am not afraid." Vanessa said then entered the cave.
It was the worst day of my life. I have been through many trials and tests but watching my mother pass on was the hardest thing I have ever done. Three years later and the pain is just as bad as the day I watched her take her last breathe. However, each day that I continue on and push through the pain takes courage. I remember the day she was diagnosed with cancer. She stayed strong while my dad and I broke apart. I am proud to say that courage is one of the traits I acquire from my mother.
Claire breathed loudly as she stood on the ledge. People kept watching her on the bridge and on both sides of the ravine. She didn’t think she could do it, but one look at her boyfriend cemented the idea in her brain.
She leaned forward and Claire swore she could feel several people take an anticipating breath. Just as she was debating whether she should do this, Claire felt a hand on her back giving her a push, tipping her over the edge.
A few terrifyingly seconds later, the cord around the feet pulled taut and brought her back up.
I shouldn’t have dallied after class. The teacher was… weird. Looking at us through her coke-bottle glasses. I bent down to put the books in my bag when a hand grabbed my shoulders, scaring me.
“Beware of the wizard with the heart of a lion and blood of a bear. His courage will band the creatures together against his own kind. His lips will move darkness away and bring light back to our minds. Beware of the wizard…”
Without even picking up my books, I scurried away from the classroom, trying not to think of what I heard at all.
Ellen stared towards the front of the classroom, knowing that in only a few moments she'd be called up to read her poem aloud. She thought about all of the awful things that could happen - she could blush, cry, get nauseous, get dizzy, stumble on her words... The fears snaked through her brain and she thought about how her classmates would laugh at her for being so shy. "No, I'm fine," she thought, encouraging herself. Her name was called. Ellen stood up and walked to the front of the classroom. Shockingly but assuredly, she didn't even blush as she read.
Cauldron strapped to the top of my head, I readied myself.
Rocks in the air started plummeting towards earth.
Everyone said this was the ultimate test of manliness and courage.
And I was certain I was the manliest of all.
Of course, most of my opponents were girls.
The first rock clanked into my cauldron.
Heavier it became as I caught two more.
Clank, clank, clank.
Each time I caught a rock, the ringing in my ears got louder and louder.
And then, everything went black.
Nobody really remembers what happened after that.
Next time, we should use smaller rocks.
Poetry poetry poetry! This is where submissions get a bit more creative than most, and it's a wonder how many HOLers (particularly the eagles) are filled with fabulous artsyness.