The Smoking Gun has posted the transcript of the final minutes from the cockpit voice recorder of United Flight 93, which crashed into a Pennsylvania field on 9/11. The tape had been entered into evidence at Zacarias Moussaoui's trial but the judge released only a transcript rather than the audio itself.
It makes for horrifying reading, from the first pleas of passengers or flight personnel to the repeated hijacker incantation "Allah is the greatest..." at the transcript's end. Whole transcript here.
As the controversy over the upcoming Hollywood movie Flight 93 heats up a bit--the trailer for the April 28 film has been pulled from some theaters due to negative audience response--one thing seems clear: Even if the details are not fully knowable, the actions taken by the passengers to storm the cockpit remains one of the most powerful, inspiring, and brutally sad stories of 9/11. After communicating with the ground via cell and onboard phones, the passengers pieced together the narrative of the attacks and realized what they were caught up in--and that the hijackers planned to use the plane as a missile against a target in DC or elsewhere. To know that you are doomed and to struggle until the very end--well, "heroic" doesn't begin to cover it.
Memorial to passengers here.
2002 CNN story about victims' families listening to audio recording of tape here, with this kicker:
"I am proud in a very sad way. I would rather have our brother with us than he be portrayed as a hero," said [the sister of passenger Lou Nacke, 42].
"I wish they were here to tell their own story," she said.