A 9/11 First, And A Relationship Forged *Open Thread*


Today, of course, is 9/11, the 13th anniversary of the Islamist assault on our nation. This was not the first one, either in the US proper, or on our embassies or our naval vessels. But it was massive for its scope and scale, from the areas covered, to the many lives lost that inauspicious day. On that level, it indeed was a first for this country, one I hoped would never come.

Along with this day comes another first – the first victim on that fateful day. I admit, I just learned of this man and what he did, though you may have heard of him. What he did was nothing short of heroic. His name was Daniel Lewin, and he was a hero. From United With Israel:

Daniel served for four years in the Israel Defense Forces as an officer in Sayeret Matkal, the elite IDF combat unit. He left the army after achieving the rank of captain, graduated from the Technion in Haifa, and then received a scholarship to begin graduate studies toward a Doctor of Philosophy at MIT. While at MIT, he helped come up with the innovative algorithms to enable web site to handle heavy traffic. Web sites were crashing when they had heavy traffic and he discovered how to distribute the traffic among many servers. He co-founded Akamai Techonologies which had clients such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and Apple.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Daniel was sitting in business class seat 9b on American Airlines flight 11 on his way to a business meeting in Los Angeles. The hijackers never could have imagined that they would be faced with an elite Israeli soldier as they tried to take over the plane. FAA, FBI, and 9/11 Commission reports indicate that Daniel sprung into action to try to stop Mohamed Atta from getting into the cockpit. Daniel would not have noticed Satam al-Suqami who appears to have been sitting behind him. The reports suggest that al Suqami killed Daniel by stabbing him in the throat. […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Lewin left behind a wife and two sons, according to the article. I am sure this is a hard day for them, for the sons who got too little time with their dad, and the wife who lost her husband. Tragically, stories like theirs were repeated thousands of times that day.

But there were other heroes that day – too many to name, but their sacrifices, their valor, their courage, and their bravery touched us deeply that day, and to this day. One of them was memorialized in the following song by Melissa Etheridge, “Tuesday Morning”:

No doubt, Bingham and his fellow Americans, saved many lives that day when they put that plane down into a field instead of its intended target (the Capitol Building). They were heroes all.

Another story about which I had not heard involves the daughter of one of the victims, Brielle Saracini, and my beloved Captain of the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter:

We’ve all heard of Derek Jeter — the Yankees superstar shortstop set to hang ’em up at season’s end — but most of us probably don’t know much about Brielle Saracini.

Derek Jeter does.

Saracini, now 23, met Jeter more than a decade ago. She had just lost her father, Victor Saracini, in the attacks on 9/11. He was a pilot on Flight 175 – the plane that was hijacked and flown into the South Tower. Just days after the attack, Brielle wrote a letter to the Yankees captain. Jeter read it and invited the young girl and her family to a game in the Bronx.

The New York Daily News reports that the pair has maintained a friendship over the years, with Saracini making an appearance on the field when Jeet had a rehab start in Trenton. She even managed to get a job with the YES Network after graduating from Boston College. When she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma — the same disease Jeter’s sister beat — he would call to motivate her.

The message was from Derek Jeter.

The date was Sept. 26, the same afternoon Jeter and Andy Pettitte went out to the mound to take the ball from Mariano Rivera to close out his career. It was also the 12-year anniversary of the day Brielle, Kirsten and Ellen Saracini had visited the Stadium after United Flight 175 was hijacked. Even the opponent – Tampa Bay – was the same.

“I just wanted to call and say, keep your head up, stay positive and everything will work out just great,” Jeter said in the message.

[…] (Click here to read the rest.)

The article continued with the sad news that Saracini’s cancer has returned. Despite her intense treatments, she will attend the Captain’s last game later on this month (Jeter is retiring).

Out of unspeakable tragedy, unimaginable heartache and loss, bloomed a friendship between two strangers, a young girl, and the Shortstop for the New York Yankees. That is just a beautiful thing…

On this day, this anniversary, this event, we reflect back and many of us still ask the question posed by Alan Jackson in the following video:

Wherever we were, wherever we are, may we and our leaders never forget what happened this day 13 years ago, and in Benghazi 2 years ago. May those who were lost those days know they are not forgotten. And may those who lost loved ones know peace. May we all remember those who were lost, the heroes that day, and to do all within our power to not allow this to happen ever again. We are Americans, and on this, may we stand united.


26 Responses to “A 9/11 First, And A Relationship Forged *Open Thread*”

  1. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    I was in tears watching this exchange between Pat Smith, Sean Smith’s mother, and the three brave security men from the Benghazi attack:

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      I watched it and I’m still crying. God bless those 3 men for finally giving Pat Smith the answers she’s been seeking about what happened to her son. Not knowing is sometimes the worst of a grief. Thank you for posting this Rev.

      On this day we all need to remember that the death of those 4 Americans was also a “9/11”. And we can never sit down and shut up until all the questions that can be answered are answered.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        I thought this was so powerful. When she said she had a million questions, and they told her they would answer every one of her questions, I just sobbed. What a gift Fox gave all four of them, to be able to speak with each other, especially on this day.

        No doubt – Benghazi matters on this day, and yes, we ALL need to have those questions answered…

    • HELENK3 Says:

      I stole it

  2. Katherine B Says:

    It’s a beautifully sunny day out here where I live on the West coast. It gives me an eerie sense of deja vu because it is exactly like it was on 9/11/01. It’s a very sad day indeed.

    Your post, Amy, very eloquently captured the right tone. I hadn’t heard about Daniel Lewin and I’m grateful to you for spreading the story of his bravery.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I know just what you mean abt the kind of day it is, Katherine. It is eerie, isn’t it?

      And of course, Obama’s speech, along with his refusal to use the term, “Islamic terrorist,” makes me fear our leaders have not learned a whole lot from the last time around…

      Thank you so much – I appreciate that. I am honored to mention Daniel Lewin – what a courageous man…

  3. mcnorman Says:

    I will never forget. Today is no different than the day we were attacked. It’s a vision seared into my mind forever.

  4. cindyindie Says:

    Cuz—-Wonderful, powerful post. Thank you—What a sad day.
    I just returned from jury duty so have missed a lot.
    And yes, indeed….bless Pat Smith and those very fine and courageous 3 men !!
    Now, it’s onward to Trey Gowdy and his committee… Can’t wait!!

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thanks so much, Cuz. Yes, it is a sad day indeed.

      A friend at Facebook said he would happily buy a ticket for one of those folks to be able to go meet with Pat Smith. Me, too. What a heartbreaking, yet powerful, video…

      Cannot wait for Trey Gowdy’s committee – that should be something!

      Hope jury duty was interesting!

  5. HELENK3 Says:


    vetted moderate free syrian army commander admits alliance with isis.

    these are the guys backtrack wants to arm

    • Katherine B Says:

      I’m sure we’ll see this story reported on CBS, NBC, ABC, in the NY Times and the WAPO.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Oh, that is just freakin’ AWESOME. By all means, let’s arm this powerful group of terrorists with deep pockets some more! What in the hell is going on with the people in our government?!?!

      Yes, Katherine – I am sure they will be ALL over this story – right…

  6. HELENK3 Says:


    backtrack’s 3 fatal delusions about isis

  7. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    A friend had the following at Facebook. Apparently, according to our “illustrious” SoS, we are NOT at war with ISIS: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/john-kerry-to-cnn-u-s-is-not-at-war-with-isis/

    Good grief. WTH is WRONG with these people??? It sure begs the question then: why the hell AREN’T we?!?!?!?

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      And this was seconded by Marie Harf (can someone please make her stop talking??): http://freebeacon.com/national-security/state-dept-this-is-not-a-war-on-terrorism/

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        Marie Harf, and her buddy Jan Psaki, at state are two very good examples of why I do not support by gender. How does it benefit women to be represented by dimwitted, dishonest people of their gender?

        Hillary is by no means stupid – but she is dishonest and considers everything through a political lens just like Obama. No thanks – Obama in a pantsuit is still Obama.

        And what can you say about a pinheaded liar like DWS?

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          What an excellent cartoon! Thanks, Marge!

          And you said it – they are great examples of why gender alone is an insufficient criteria for certain positions. Intelligence and experience are mighty important components, and neither one of those women seem to have much of either one of those attributes.

          You said it abt Hillary – she is a political creature in a BIG way. No doubt abt it.

          Love the “Obama in a pantsuit” – that sums it up beautifully!

  8. HELENK3 Says:


    he still does not “get” America

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      It is really pathological how it is ALWAYS abt him. The photo in that Tweet was so narcissistic. How is that ANYTHING abt 9/11?? Good grief…

  9. HELENK3 Says:


    the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

    pretty good description of backtrack

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