October 3, 2023
Annapolis, US 71 F

9/11 Connections Cut Deep for Navy Linebacker John Kelly III

From Navy Sports and Gary Lambrecht:

As a perfectly clear morning unfolded across much of the United States on September 11, 2001, no resident of New York City could possibly foresee the calamitous event that was about to terrorize them.

In the Kelly household on Staten Island at 8:46 a.m., as American Airlines Flight 11, a 767 jet carrying 81 passengers and 11 crew members, crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, an oblivious toddler named John Kelly III — now a senior linebacker on the Navy football team — sat in his high chair, waiting to be spoon-fed breakfast by his mother, Maureen.

Moments earlier, John Kelly, Jr., younger John’s father and then a 14-year veteran New York City firefighter, had been running a charity event at nearby Silver Lake Golf Course, to raise funds for firefighters in need. There were already golfers on the course when AA Flight 11 —about 15 minutes later to be followed by United Airlines Flight 175 — stunned Kelly and other firemen and golfers by flying over the Hudson River with a deafening roar at a startlingly low altitude.

By 9:03 a.m., after Flight 175 had sliced through the trade center’s South Tower, punctuated by a huge, fiery explosion, it was clear to New Yorkers and fellow Americans everywhere that the United States was under attack. Within 90 minutes, what were once the tallest buildings in the world had collapsed.

That sad, momentous day marked by far the deadliest foreign attack on American soil in the nation’s history and the deadliest terrorist act in world history.

The attacks by 19 terrorist hijackers claimed nearly 3,000 American lives — including 125 murdered at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed. Over Western Pennsylvania farmland, where some of the 55 passengers had tried to wrest control of United Flight 93 from terrorists likely aiming it for the heart of the nation’s capital, that jet crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa.

No one survived any of the four crashes, which killed 246 passengers and 19 hijackers who committed murder-suicide.

The people of New York absorbed a major brunt of a horrific day of loss. The immediate deaths included 2,606 in the World Trade Center and the surrounding area. Among those were 343 firefighters and 71 law enforcement officers.

When the Midshipmen line up to face visiting Air Force at Navy-Marine Corp Memorial Stadium on September 11, 2021, John Kelly III’s immediate family will be there to witness it, while processing the 20th anniversary of the worst day ever recorded in New York City.

Read the rest at NavySprts.com

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