Speed Reads

9/11

Mike Pence emotionally thanks the passengers, crew of Flight 93 for potentially saving his own life

Vice President Mike Pence was overtaken with emotion while speaking from Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Monday, at the memorial for the passengers and crew who died aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001. "I am also here to pay a debt of gratitude to the heroes of Flight 93 on a much more personal basis," he said, "for their actions on this day in these skies saved American lives. And as my wife, Karen, who joins me here today knows, it's a debt I don't think I'll ever be able to repay. Because among the many lives that were saved by their selfless courage, they might well have saved my own life that day."

Flight 93 was believed to be bound for the U.S. Capitol when passengers on board seized control from the hijackers and crashed the plane into the Shanksville field. Pence was serving his first term in Congress in September 2001, and he recalled standing across the street from the Capitol when he heard the news that the plane was 12 minutes away from impact. "It was the longest 12 minutes of my life," he said. "Then it turned to 13 minutes, then 14. And then we were informed that the plane had gone down in a field in Pennsylvania."

Pence added, "I will always believe that I, and many others in our nation's capital, were able to get home that day to hug our families because of the courage and selflessness of the heroes of Flight 93." Watch his full comments below. Jeva Lange