This is so beautiful and moving that you must read it in its entirety: But here’s a little sample:

“Peter Hanson, a passenger on United Airlines Flight 175 called his father. ‘I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building,’ he said. ‘Don’t worry, Dad–if it happens, it will be very fast.’ On the same flight, Brian Sweeney called his wife, got the answering machine, and told her they’d been hijacked. ‘Hopefully I’ll talk to you again, but if not, have a good life. I know I’ll see you again some day.’

“There was Tom Burnett’s famous call from United Flight 93. ‘We’re all going to die, but three of us are going to do something,’ he told his wife, Deena. ‘I love you, honey.’

“These were people saying, essentially, In spite of my imminent death, my thoughts are on you, and on love. I asked a psychiatrist the other day for his thoughts, and he said the people on the planes and in the towers were ‘accepting the inevitable’ and taking care of ‘unfinished business.’ ‘At death’s door people pass on a responsibility–“Tell Billy I never stopped loving him and forgave him long ago.” “Take care of Mom.” “‘Pray for me, Father. Pray for me, I haven’t been very good.”‘ They address what needs doing…..

“This is what I get from the last messages. People are often stronger than they know, bigger, more gallant than they’d guess. And this: We’re all lucky to be here today and able to say what deserves saying, and if you say it a lot, it won’t make it common and so unheard, but known and absorbed.

“I think the sound of the last messages, of what was said, will live as long in human history, and contain within it as much of human history, as any old metallic roar.”

Hat tip: Amy Welborn.