Every generation has a moment that helps define who they are. For people in my father’s generation, that was the day President Kennedy was shot. For my generation, that moment is likely the events of 9/11. Of course, people of all ages will forever remember that fateful day, but for those just entering adulthood, that day became a part of our identity.
Although the falling of the World Trade Center is often the part of 9/11 that gets the most attention, the hijacking and subsequent crash of United Flight 93 is a story of remarkable courage and dignity. Unlike the two airplanes that hit the WTC and the third that targeted the Pentagon, Flight 93 crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside. All passengers and crew members died instantly.
The thing that made the crash of Flight 93 so extraordinary is that the passengers and crew on board made the decision to prevent the plane from reaching populated areas. Due to a departure delay, Flight 93 was hijacked after the initial three planes reached their targets. The people on that Flight 93 watched as terrorists rerouted their plane toward Washington, D.C. By that time, the passengers and crew knew their plane was a part of an insidious mission.
In just over 30 minutes, this diverse group of people on Flight 93 developed a plan and put it into action. Their efforts were recorded on the cockpit voice recorder, which captured every chilling detail. Instead of allowing the passengers and crew to regain control of the plane, the terrorist who had commandeered the cockpit intentionally crashed it. At 10:03 am, Flight 93 plowed into an empty field at a speed of 563 miles per hour.
Bare Stage Theatre:
Bare Stage Theatre, founded by David and Shanara Lassig in 2009, was created with the goal of bringing newer shows to Fargo that don’t require a large cast and only require a minimal set. “Most of our shows are done with a few actors playing multiple characters,” David explained. “Our most recent show, “Fargo Talk Radio,” which was written by myself and Shanara, featured six actresses and over 40 characters.”
Bare Stage’s next production will be an homage to United Flight 93. “United: The Heroes of Flight 93” uses actual conversations between the passengers and crew and their friends and family on the ground. The show features seven actors playing 53 different roles. “The show is performed as a staged reading and introduces the audience to the passengers and crew on Flight 93 before going into the conversations between the passengers and the people on the ground,” David explained. “The lines are supplemented with time-stamped slides in the background helping illustrate the chronology of events surrounding Flight 93.”
The motivation for the show came after David and Shanara visited the Flight 93 National Memorial after watching one of David’s award-winning plays performed in 2009. “After visiting the site, I did more research on Flight 93 and thought this was a story that needed to be told,” he said. “It is one of the lesser known stories of 9/11, but an incredible story about how the passengers prevented their plane from hitting another target.”
The ability of the passengers and crew to come together to protect unsuspecting strangers is what stood out to David. “It’s amazing to see how these people from different races and generations came together as one on that fateful day to accomplish the goal of keeping other people safe,” he said.
David does not recognize this group of people at the exclusion of the many heroes that emerged that day. “I think we need to remember the sacrifices that first responders made on 9/11. They put everyone else’s lives before their own,” he said. “I think it’s also a time for family and friends to come together and remember their loved ones and show the world that we can persevere through bad times and we can pick each other up and be stronger together.”
“United: The Heroes of Flight 93” will play at the Stage at Island Park in Fargo from September 8 – 11. There is no admission charge, but free-will donations benefiting the Flight 93 National Memorial will be taken at the door.
By Jamee Larson