Sermon Illustrations

Sept. 19, 2001 - New York Times ran a story called Aboard Flight 564 - Peter Hannaford

As it was at most US Airports, last Saturday was the first near normal day at Denver International since the terrorist attacks. On United Flight 564, the door had just been locked and the plane was about to pull out of the gate when the captain came on the public address system. I want to thank you brave folks for coming out today. “We don’t have any new instructions from the federal government, so from now on we’re on our own.” The passengers listened in total silence. He explained, “Airport measures had pretty much solved the problem of firearms being carried aboard, but not weapons of the type the terrorists apparently used, plastic knives or those fashioned from wood or ceramics. Sometimes a potential hijacker will announce that he has a bomb. There are no bombs on this aircraft and if someone were to get up make that claim, don’t believe him. If someone were to stand up, brandish something such as a plastic knife and say, ‘This is a hijacking’ or words to that effect here is what you should do: Every one of you should stand up and immediately throw things at that person: pillows, books, magazines, eyeglasses, shoes, anything that will throw him off balance and distract his attention. If he has an accomplice or two, do the same with them. Most important: get a blanket over him, then wrestle him to the floor and keep him there. We’ll land the plane at the nearest airport and the authorities will take it from there.”

“Remember,” the Captain continued, “there will be one of him and maybe a few accomplices but there are 200 of you. You can overwhelm them. The Declaration of Independence says, ‘We the people’ and that’s just what it is when we’re up in the air: we, the people, vs. would-be terrorists. I don’t think we are going to have any such problem today or tomorrow or for a while, but some time down the road, it is going to happen again and I want you to know what to do. Now, since we’re a family for the next few hours, I’ll ask you to turn to the person next to you, introduce yourself, tell them a little about yourself and ask them to do the same.” The end of this remarkable speech brought sustained clapping from the passengers.

What if the Passengers of the Planes that crashed into the Twin Towers or Pentagon had gotten that speech? How many of them sat helpless by – not Realizing that if they only banded together?

YET – How many of US sit quietly – while our Lives go down in Smoke – never band together?