STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — United Airlines Flight 93 was one of the four flights hijacked and set to be used as a weapon of terror on 9/11. Flight 93 was the only flight that did not reach the hijacker's intended target, because of the selfless heroism of the passengers.
And in 2021, just a few miles away from the mountain, Tom Crowley just moved in to his brand new Stone Mountain home. Call it happenstance that not far from Crowley’s home, firefighters ascend a mountain to honor victims of 9/11.
Victims like Crowley’s nephew, Jeremy Glick, who was married to his wife's niece.
The entire family was in Rhode Island to attend the funeral or Crowley's mother. Crowley remembered Jeremy as a kind person with a good heart and lots of friends.
“Jeremy in college was National Honors Judo and he had been wakeboarding all summer. So, I was teasing him about the size of his shoulders and the size of his waist. I mean, he was really a hunk.”
Jeremy Glick was supposed to fly out of Newark on September 10. But, a fire at the airport changed his flight plan.
“So, he chose to go out the next morning on Flight 93," Crowley remembered.
And about 45 minutes into the flight, he called his wife and mother-in-law.
“Joanne said, 'Jeremy are you OK? There’s been a lot of problems today.' And Jeremy said, 'yes, I know, there’s some bad guys on the airplane and we’re been hijacked.'”
The passengers on the plane were pushed to the back. Jeremy, Lou Nacke, Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, and Tom Burnett were some of the names we now know, decided to fight alongside their fellow passengers.
“They were going to take the plane back.”
He told his wife he loved her and asked to stay on the phone. Lyz Glick kept the phone line open for 126 minutes.
“The hijackers that were outside the cockpit, they took them down. They broke through the cockpit door," Crowley explained details of the phone call and cockpit tapes. “Jeremy dispatched one of the hijackers with a judo chop to the neck, you could hear his windpipe being destroyed.”
The intended target of the flight is widely believed to be the U.S. Capitol or the White House. But the hijacker pilot crashed the plane into a Pennsylvania field after a struggle.
Jeremy’s daughter, Emmy, was 3 months old. At 15, she gave a Ted Talk – on how to deal with tragedy.
"I just was so mad, how could they take them away from me, but I got older and my mom explained to me, 'we have to run in love not hate, and we have to forgive like my dad would have wanted,'” Emmy said at the time. “As I take my path in life, I take my dad wherever I go.”
Emmy is now 20.
“She’s now in college, she just performed in Fiddler on the Roof and is studying performance arts."
Jeremy and 39 other passengers’ took a path of bravery, saving lives. And Crowley, now 79, said he’s seen more and more people stand up
He thinks the passengers of Flight 93 had a little something to do with it.
“You’ll see problems on airplanes where the passengers will take over and subdue whoever is doing something crazy or stupid. So, times have changed dramatically." said Crowley. “It’s something that we need to remember so that we as citizens can help prevent it in the future, in whatever way we can.”
Times have changed but one thing has remained the same in Crowley’s eyes.
“You can be a hero if they time comes, if you take the risk to do it.”
And those heroes and all victims of 9/11 is why Crowley’s proud that people, 20 years later, still take time to honor the nearly 3,000 victims.
"Never forget" has never been truer for Crowley
Jeremy Glick was posthumously awarded the Medal of Heroism and is memorialized at the Flight 93 National Memorial near the crash site and the National 9/11 memorial in New York.