While touring the 911 Memorial Museum I spoke with many docents; people who were personally involved in that fateful day and who have dedicated themselves to sharing their experience with visitors to the Ground Zero exhibit.
I was affected by them, as it was easy to tell they were speaking from the heart, a heart that was broken but anxious to make people aware of the true impact the attack had.
One was relating the stories of some of the pilots who were scrambled to chase Fight 93, the airliner that was ultimately brought down by the heroic passengers. He told of a little known fact that one of the fighter jets was piloted by a woman. She was the first fighter pilot to reach the point where she could take the hijacked airliner down, which she had been ordered to do.
The most amazing part of the story is that she had no idea why.
She was unaware of the events in New York. Her orders were simply to make sure that Flight 93 was terminated, passengers and all. She was only given information on a need to know basis.
Of course she was conflicted. But what is even more disturbing is that she knew her fighter jet was unarmed, and she also knew her Commander knew that fact when he gave her the order.
In the end, when she reached the intersection point, Flight 93 had already crashed, but she was fully prepared to crash her F-16 into the nose of that airliner if the opportunity presented itself.