Monday, January 23, 2012

The White House Still Stands Today Because A Black Pilot Would Not Fly His Plane Into It.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. was buried Friday January 20, 2012 at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C..

His son, Luke Weathers III, 61, said his father and other Black Americans who fought in World War II did so to prove they were men, "and then they wanted their country to love them, but that didn't happen, either." Friday's ceremony, however, finally delivered recognition of his father as a national hero, Weathers said.

This kind of attention to the Tuskegee Airmen is what Lt. Col. Weathers wanted throughout his life, said his daughter, Trina Weathers Boyce. Lt. Col. Weathers was not vain, but he wanted to share the lessons of the airmen's courage in war, their struggles for equality and their victory over a wartime enemy and over racism, she said.

"We are still educating people on the Tuskegee history," Trina Weathers Boyce said, "because it's a big part of American history, not African American or Black history, but American history."

That is equally true of another Black American hero, Captain LeRoy W. Homer Jr.. The victorious do not always live to celebrate their victories. In some cases it is for us the living to celebrate their achievements for them. The world may little note nor long remember what the officers, crew, and passengers of United Flight 93 did for America and western civilization on September 11, 2001, but I urge all Americans to pause and thank God that he gave us a real hero like LeRoy W. Homer Junior.

But for Captain LeRoy W. Homer Jr and the other brave souls on United Flight 93, the White House could very well have been one big black hole on Pennsylvania Avenue on that fateful day. The White House is still there in large measure because Captain LeRoy Homer would not fly his United Airlines Flight 93 into this symbol at the heart of the American Dream.

United Airlines Flight 93 was en route to San Francisco from Newark, N.J., when the hijackers took over, apparently planning to crash the plane into the White House or the Capitol. Conversations from the plane's final minutes indicate the passengers had some idea of what was happening to them and, on the words "Let's roll," stormed the cockpit in an effort to wrest control shortly before the crash.

Not much has been said in the mainstream media about LeRoy W. Homer Jr.

At an early age, LeRoy W. Homer Jr knew that he wanted to be a pilot. As a child, LeRoy assembled model airplanes, collected aviation memorabilia and read books on aviation. LeRoy was 15 years old when he started flight instruction in the Cessna 152. Working part-time jobs after school to pay for flying lessons, he completed his first solo at 16 years old, and obtained his private pilot's certificate in 1983.

In the fall of 1983, LeRoy entered the Air Force Academy, and graduated with the Class of 1987, 31st Squadron. After completing pilot training in 1988, he was assigned to McGuire AFB in New Jersey, flying the C-141B Starlifter. While on active duty, LeRoy served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and later supported operations in Somalia. He received many commendations, awards and medals during his military career. In 1993, he was named the 21st Air Force Aircrew Instructor of the Year. LeRoy achieved the rank of Captain before his honorable discharge from active duty in 1995.

LeRoy continued his military career as a reservist, initially as an instructor pilot with the 356th Airlift Squadron at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, then subsequently as an Academy Liaison Officer, recruiting potential candidates for both the Air Force Academy and the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. During his time with the Reserves, he achieved the rank of Major.

LeRoy continued his flying career by joining United Airlines in May 1995. His first assignment was Second Officer on the B727. He then upgraded to First Officer on the B757/767 in 1996, where he remained until September 11, 2001.

On September 11, 2001, LeRoy was flying with Captain Jason Dahl on United Flight 93. Based on information from several sources that day, we know LeRoy and Jason were the first to fight against the terrorist threat to the airplane. LeRoy has received many awards and citations posthumously, for his actions on Flight 93, including the Congress Of Racial Equality - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference - Drum Major for Justice Award and the Westchester County Trailblazer Award.

LeRoy was able to accomplish much in his short life. He was able to do so because of the support of his family and friends, and the encouragement of his teachers and mentors. We hope that LeRoy's life will continue to be an inspiration to those who also share the dream of flying.

LeRoy married Melodie Thorpe on May 24, 1998 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. From that union, their daughter Laurel Nicole was born October 25, 2000.

LeRoy was known for his kind, caring disposition. He was the type of person that truly listened when you spoke. He was an exceptional individual with a wonderful sense of humor.

CAPT LeRoy Homer, United Airlines Flt. 93 on 9/11/01.

9/11 had a huge impact on United States foreign policy, on the way the Western world views Islam and on the Islamic world.

Since the crash, a group of volunteers known now as the Flight 93 ambassadors point visitors to the crash site on a previously barren wind swept field in Pennsylvania and describe what happened aboard the plane on Sept. 11, 2001. Some months they guide more than 25,000 visitors.

On that terrible day in 2001, it didn't take first responders long to realize there would be no survivors. Combing the site, all they could find at first were small pieces of aircraft — and bits of a United Airlines in-flight magazine.

"It was a pretty scary time," says a former assistant fire chief, Rick King, whose truck was the first to arrive. "I just remember driving down the road, wondering what we were about to see."

Searchers recovered only about 8 percent of the potential human remains but were able to identify everyone from the fragments they did find, said Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller.

"Most of the material was vaporized," he says.

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