9/11 Stories: Terry Horniacek


Terry Horniacek’s job was to check in United Airlines flight crews. She was one of the last to see the flight crew of United Flight 93, which was hijacked and brought down in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Among the heroes who helped bring down that plane (preventing it from hitting another target) were some of the crew members Terry had checked in minutes earlier. Terry knew the crew well. She had been checking them in for years. Flight attendant Sandy Waugh Bradshaw was just back from maternity leave. This was to be one of her last flights. She planned to become a stay-at-home mom. Sandy’s husband, Phil, was a United Airlines pilot. Flight attendant Debbie Jacobs Welsh was very excited on September 11th. She was one year free of melanoma cancer. Terry remembers giving Debbie a big hug, so happy she was in the clear. Flight attendant Wanda Anita Green had thought about calling in sick on September 11th. She has heart palpitations that day. In the end, she decided to see a United Airlines doctor, once the flight had arrived at its destination in San Francisco. 33-year-old flight attendant CeeCee Ross Lyles was a last-minute fill-on United Flight 93. She was a new hire, called to fill in when another flight attendant called in sick that day. After serving as a cop and detective for six years in Fort Pierce, Florida, CeeCee had just completed her flight attendant training for her dream job just 9 months earlier. Terry spoke by phone with the crew, after the hijacking learning that while Lorraine & Wanda tended to the passengers of hijacked Flight 93, new hire CeeCee and new mom Sandy were in the back of the plane with hero passenger Todd “Let’s roll” Beamer and others. CeeCee and Sandy were filling passenger carts with unopened soda bottles. They were planning to bombard the hijackers in the cockpit. Some of the passengers planned to use fire extinguishers as weapons against the terrorists. United Airlines Onboard Flight Services Coordinator Terry Horniacek says the trauma of 9/11 nearly ruined her life. She suffered a breakdown, followed by drug addiction. It was only 2 years ago she got her life back. She never told her 9/11 story to her 4 children. One of her sons heard her story for the first time, sitting in on this Zoom recording session.