As a part of Project 2996, I'm going to write to you about another individual I never met. I've never heard her name, either. I only knew her as a part of a group: The people who perished on 9/11.
Sandy Bradshaw: 38, Loving wife, mother of two, stewardess on Flight 93 on 9/11/01. Ten years have now passed*, and her two children are about to enter their teens. Her son Nathan was a baby, and her daughter Alexandria, at age three, little more than one when their mother was taken from them.
Sandy, along with four siblings, grew up on a chicken ranch, of all places, but she dreamed of "flying the friendly skies" as a stewardess. She first became a "stew" for US Airways in 1990, but was laid off five months later. She met the man who was to become her husband, working as a pilot for US Air. By December of that same year, she was working for United Airlines.
She'd been working as a stewardess for over ten years, but with the arrival of her babies, she was cutting back her hours to spend more time with them. She was only making two, two day trips a month, the minimum amount of time she could work, when she took off on that fateful day.
Phil Bradshaw got a phone call from his wife that morning:
"Have you seen what's happening? Have you heard?" She asked in a calm voice. "We've been hijacked."
And, in the typical, gutsy manner of those aboard Flight 93, She told her husband that she and the other attendants were boiling water to throw at the hijackers.
A brave lady, a loving mom, a beloved wife, a devoted daughter, a caring sister. The last moments of her life were spent making sure that Flight 93 did not become yet another aerial bomb to be used on helpless civilians. We honor her bravery and we honor her life.
Sandy is survived by her husband, a daughter, a son, and a step-daughter, her parents, three sisters, and her brother.
She touched many lives and those who were touched by her miss her. Twelve years later.
If I may add the same sentiments I have before, though I never met Sandy Bradshaw, I mourn for her and grieve with her family. The craven cowardice of those who would commit war by attacking defenseless civilians has not gone unavenged. Many of those who sowed the wind on 9/11 have reaped the whirlwind.
But, vengeance can never restore loss. What was taken from Sandy Bradshaw's family can never be replaced. Nor that of the 2,995 other families who lost loved ones on that day.
But, we can remember them. We can hold them in our hearts. And we can vow that so much as is in our power, it will never happen again.
Our hearts go out to the family of Sandy Bradshaw today. I hope that in some small way I have captured a bit of her essence to share. Our hearts are with you this day.
Rest in peace, Sandy.
You can read more about Sandy here:
United Stewardess Sandra W. Bradshaw
Flight crew: Sandra Bradshaw
There's a video tribute to Sandy on You Tube here.