I had a dream last night. I was huddled in the back of a plane cruising level at 30,000 feet with several other passengers. The date was September 11, 2001. Terrorists had taken control of the cockpit and were at the controls while others guarded the front of the cabin with box cutters. One of the passengers received a call on their cell and the information received was devastating. As the passenger shared this information, it became clear that this was not a traditional hijacking. The plane would not be diverted to Cuba, nor would our release be negotiated. Regardless of the soothing lies and false promises from the terrorists that "all would be well" if we just cooperated, we were helpless passengers on a suicide run and we would not survive. Most sat there in shock at the news, some sobbing, some praying.
Then a young man in a baseball cap with eyes of focused intensity came forward and quietly laid out a plan to charge the cockpit. I don't recall his exact words, as my fading memory on this point is murky and elusive, as remembered dreams are want to be. I do recall, however, that his message was inspiring. While our odds were impossible, he made us understand that we still had choices. We could choose to bow to this tyranny by remaining quietly in our seats, thereby potentially buying us a little more time but solidifying our collective fates. Or we could leave the false and temporary safety of our foxhole to fight against this tyranny, and die if necessary, for ideals like "freedom" and "liberty".
If this is our time, isn't it better to go on our terms? If we can't wrest the controls from the terrorists, then isn't it better to drive the plane into an empty field in our attempt? If we are to go, should it be by passive subservience, thereby condemning those at the business end of the terrorist's flight plan?
My dream took a strange twist at this point, as visions passed before my like those old black and white newsreels. General Washington Crossing the Delaware... The battlefield at Gettysburg, filled with cannon smoke and cries of the dying... Heroes leaping into the cold water off the back of an amphibious troop carrier and racing toward the beaches of Normandy - the air filled with bullets and shrapnel thicker than a spring rainstorm.
And then instantly I was back in the plane. That's strange! Slightly more than half of the passengers have moved to the front of the plane and are dancing and laughing and chugging the miniature bottles of hootch pilfered from the galley with the terrorists. More free stuff is promised to them as long as they cooperate. Meanwhile, the party continues as the plane barrels on towards oblivion.
The young man in the baseball cap (I think his name was Todd) looked at me with those eyes of focused intensity and said, "....
TO BE CONTINUED