Deena Burnett started chronicling information about her late
husband Tom Burnett Jr. for her children, but eventually it
turned into a book called “Fighting Back.” She said that
following September 11, 2001, the media gave credit to someone
else for bringing down the plane Flight 93 before it reached
it’s intended target. After watching the DVD, “A Portrait of
Courage,” all of the people involved had some special talent
that contributed to the success of what they all tried to do
that fateful day. It was as if God had chosen who would be on
that plane to do His will. We may never know how much more
damage the terrorists would of perpetrated if the intended
target, which was believed to be the white house, had been
struck by the plane.

People who know me well will say that the reason why I chose to
focus on Tom Burnett is because he was a faithful Catholic.
They know how passionate I am about the Catholic Faith. Well
that is partially correct. I’m sure there were other good
Catholics on the plane, but I personally have found out more
about Tom than any other person, and it has always intrigued me
when people go against the flow to help others when most people
choose not to act. My next choice would be Todd Beamer. He
was the Evangelical Christian who recited the Lords Prayer on
the phone with a GTE Verizon Operator while on the plane. He
is noted for his famous words “lets roll,” that the operator
heard him use at the start of the revolt against the
terrorists. Their telephone conversation was the only one that
was recorded.

Another reason why Tom got my notice was that his wife Deena
said that about a year before 9/11 Tom told her that the reason
why he hadn’t been coming home for lunch lately was because he
started going to daily Mass. He felt that God was trying to
tell him something and that maybe he could figure out what he
was trying to tell him if he spent more time in church and in
prayer.. Spending more time with God and receiving Jesus in the
Blessed Sacrament causes a person to acquire more Christ like
attributes. You strengthen the bond with God so that you can
hear His voice more clearly. A person starts asking himself
what would Jesus do in this situation. Tom did give his life
for others and I believe that the grace from frequent communion
gave him the strength to do what he did.

Tom had a Genius level IQ. He had a talent for quickly forming
strategy and putting them into effect. God used this gift he
bestowed upon Tom to thwart the terrorists plans. Deena said
that Tom was immensely interested in American History and the
different generals that fought and the different strategy they
took during the Civil War. General Nathan Bedford Forrest was
one whom he particularly admired. During the war the General
found himself surrounded but did not surrender. Instead the
General and his men swung around and defeated the enemy.

Deena remembers her husband telling her about a charge at
Gettysburg where the soldiers wrote notes to their families and
pinned them on trees. Then they proceeded to follow orders and
marched toward the enemy knowing they would be killed. He told
her that he wondered if he would ever have the courage to do
the same. Deena often contemplated whether Tom realized before
he died that he did have the same courage those soldiers
possessed. I believe that Tom’s admiration of those who were
selfless showed that he possessed the ability to show the same
selflessness. It is seen in the lives of the saints. Their
love for others overcomes their love of self and they are able
to do great things to help those in need.

Tom Burnett called his wife four times between 9:27am and 9:54
am. At the last phone call he told his wife that they were
going to take the plane back. She told him not to and to just
sit quietly and not draw attention to himself. He screamed
back “NO DEENA! NO! If they are going to crash this flight we
are going to do something.” She asked him what else can she
do and he responded, “Pray Deena, just pray.” She responded a
tearful “I am.”

When Deena was able to listen to the cockpit recorder on April
18, 2002 she heard one of the terrorists screaming for his life
and then silence. She then heard Tom’s voice where the
terrorists voice was and she could hear the actions that he
took. It reaffirmed what Tom had told her he was going to do.
It gave her a sense of peace that he acted courageously.

Tom Burnett and all those who showed integrity and courage on
Flight 93 took in consideration the safety of others. They have
given the American people a sense of hope and heroes to admire.
Maybe they should be canonized? 🙂 “All that it takes for evil
to triumph is for good people to do nothing. On 09/11/01 good
people decided to do something” (DVD Portrait of Courage).

Source, DVD “Portrait of Courage, The Untold Story of Flight 93”

National Catholic Register Volume 82 No. 36 Sept 10-16 2006,
Inperson, Interview with Deena Burnett, “Tom Burnett Is Still
Fighting Back, 5 Years later.”

Anyone wishing to over-come same-sex-attraction please call the
Director of Courage in our area, Father Tom Ward at 343-8494 or
email him at

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