I am glad to see the opening of the new national memorial to Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. The actions of the passengers on that flight have been the subject of countless reports and coverage of September 11th 2001. Information about the memorial is available at: http://www.nps.gov/flni/index.htm It was particularly meaningful to me that the memorial focuses attention on the calls made from Flight 93 which were critical to the passengers understanding the need to stop the hijackers.
On 9/11 and the days following, I was so struck by accounts of phone calls made from this and other flights and crash sites that I did all that I knew how to do to contribute – which was to research exactly what calls were made, when and how. I only wanted to rely on press and other public reports in order not to bother family members for a research paper, but I found many accounts and they led to a paper that has been published about the role of wireless networks on September 11th. I sought to describe what calls where made from each plane and each crash site as best as I could recount from the public record, and to reflect on the social significance of those calls.
On occasions when I spoke about this research, there have been instances of people leaving the room, saying afterwards that the memories are just too difficult to deal with. My paper is my only personal contribution to ensuring that the events of that day are remembered and considered by more people. The paper is:
Dutton, William. H. and Nainoa, Frank (2002), ‘Say Goodbye … Let’s Roll: The Social Dynamics of Wireless Networks on September 11th’, Prometheus, 20(3): 237-45. It is freely available online at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1225822