To commemorate the lives lost there on September 11, 2001, First Ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush visited Shanksville, PA, the site of the fallen Flight 93 that was diverted from its target by passengers, to honor the service of those on the plane who gave their lives to save others who were in harm’s way. They emphasized their selflessness and the example they set for the rest of the nation.
First Lady Laura Bush spoke specifically to the sacrifice of the people on the plane, who chose to deviate the plane away from its target, even if it meant crashing and burning themselves. “They spared our county from even greater horrors,” she explained, and thanked them for their selflessness, connecting it to the greater response from the rest of the country: “We saw the worst of our enemy and the best of our nation.”
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about the victims individually, their individual goodbyes to their families, the reactions of their children, and the work they did in their everyday lives before the tragedy. “They remind us,” she explains, “not just by how they gave their lives, but by how they lived their lives, that being a hero is not just a matter of fate– it’s a matter of choice.”
The two speeches at Shanksville, via CNN, below: