The 9/11 suicide mission of Lt. Heather Penney...

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They didn't know it at the time, but Todd Beamer and his fellow stalwarts on Flight 93 saved the life of one woman intent on taking theirs--Kamikaze style. Ten years later, the Washington Post broke the story (in its "Lifestyle" section, of course):

Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was on a runway at Andrews Air Force Base and ready to fly. She had her hand on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines Flight 93. The day’s fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward Washington. Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that morning, was told to stop it.

The one thing she didn’t have as she roared into the crystalline sky was live ammunition. Or missiles. Or anything at all to throw at a hostile aircraft.

Except her own plane. So that was the plan.

When they ordered her to scramble, did anyone know whether or not Penney was pregnant? And if she was, did they ask her little baby if he was willing to die on his mother's suicide mission?

Did Penney have children waiting for her to come home and cuddle? Was her husband babysitting, or do our armed forces require female combat pilots to be single and childless?

What a barbaric nation we have become! Lt. Penney's willingness to give up her life in defense of others is commendable. But the officers, commander in chief, and nation that placed this woman in harm's way are despicable cowards who care more about appearing sufficiently progressive than they care about protecting the aged, feeble, children, unborn babies, and women.

Looking back on that terrible day, now-Major Penney says, “I genuinely believed that was going to be the last time I took off. If we did it right, this would be it.”

The manly men of flight 93 died. And now, a decade later, Major Penney is a single mother of two daughters. That's the world as it should be.

Almost.

(TB, w/thanks to Eric and Gene V.)