'I Promised I Wouldn't Hang Up'

Lisa Jefferson, the phone supervisor who took Todd Beamer's call on Flight 93, believes God called her for a purpose.

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And at Verizon Airfone, when we went to call the authorities and the FBI to report this to the emergency center, the emergency operator’s name was also named Lisa.

That’s why I said this was all planned. You know, it was just something in God’s hands that he had a plan.

What happened after he said what actually turned out to be his last words, which were, “Let’s roll"?

'Let's Roll'

After he said, “Let’s roll,” he left the phone and I would assume that’s at the point that they went to charge the cockpit. And I was still on the line and the plane took a dive and by then, it just went silent. I held on until after the plane crashed—probably about 15 minutes longer and I never heard a crash—it just went silent because—I can’t explain it. We didn’t lose a connection because there’s a different sound that you use. It’s a squealing sound when you lose a connection. I never lost connection, but it just went silent.

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 It seemed like you had to be taken off the phone.

I just could not believe that that plane had crashed because we never gave up hope. We both just talked about them landing their plane safely, he gave me personal information regarding him and his family. And people in the company started gathering around me in the call center because they knew I was on the phone with one of the planes that was being hijacked. And at the time when the plane crashed, they had announced over the radio that United Airlines Flight 93 had just crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and a guy put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Lisa, you can release the line now. That was his plane.” And I said, “No way.” And I kept calling his name and calling his name, hoping that he--just praying that anyone would come and pick up the phone. But they never did. But I just did not want to give up. I just felt that somebody was going to pick up that phone, and eventually I gave in and I hung the phone up.

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Interview by Wendy Schuman
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