Tom Burnett was an ordinary person who was deeply patriotic, a very good athlete, a loving father and husband, a successful businessman, and a devout Catholic and daily communicant at Holy Mass. He seemed destined for a peaceful life. However, early in 2001, something special happened. He had a strange dream, a premonition, a voice from God! He told Deena, his wife, about it saying that he didn't know exactly what it meant, but that it had something to do with the ‘White House’ and that it would have some serious consequences. He also told her that, on account of the premonitions, he had started going for daily Mass during his lunch break.
On September 11, 2001, returning from a business trip, Tom Brunette boarded United Flight 93 headed for San Francisco from Newark, NJ. Also on the flight were four young men, filled with bitterness and hatred. Determined to take the extreme step, they forcefully took over the plane from the pilot and redirected it toward Washington, D.C. Tom Burnett made quick phone calls to his wife. His wife told him what had happened in New York – the terrible tragedy of two planes crashing on to the Twin Towers. Tom then informed the other passengers they were on a suicide flight. He called his wife again and spoke these final words: "Don't worry. We are going to do something."
Led by Tom Burnett, a group of passengers stood up and fought back against the dreaded terrorists. Soon the plane turned out to be a battle field. Soon the plane went out of control and crashed in a Pennsylvania field. The dreadful plans of the terrorists to crash the plane on top of the White House was thus aborted by the valour, courage and self sacrifice of Tom Burnett and those who joined him.
Tom Burnett acted in an extraordinary manner in an extraordinary circumstance. But his heroic act of diverting Flight 93 did not happen by chance. His courageous actions and his amazing serenity were the result of his strong belief and trust in God and his openness to God's message. The strength he received from his daily communion, his meditation and prayerful moments with God gave him enough courage ‘to do something’ in that moment of terrible crisis. His inspiring courage, character, faith and integrity in all the aspects of his life; his valour and leadership in that perilous plane are lessons for people of all generations. Tom Brunette shows that our faith and trust in God is our best weapon in moments of crisis.