From Where I Stand
Author: Melodie Homer
Reviewed by: Fran Lewis
One morning millions of lives were changed forever. One-morning two magnificent towers went down. One-morning two planes with many passengers went down because one man hated our country and our people. Hate, fear, misguided whatever you want to call it this one man orchestrated and manipulated so many for a cause he thought would bring him more recognition, fame and satisfaction when his plan was executed. But, this one man targeted the wrong people, the wrong country and made the wrong choices. Family is what really counts and without the love and support of those close to you nothing else really matters. Money pays bills. Heat and electricity keep you warm and light up your world and but the love of your life is priceless. So, why did so many lose so much and why will we never forget? American are special. We are fearless. We will not stop until justice is served. But, what happened on September 11, 2001 will never bring back those we loved and adored. Justice was served but will someone else try to test us again?
Flight 93 went down that day but not before two men helped save the lives of so many. LeRoy W. Homer, Jr. was the first officer on that fateful flight. A flight that had one destination and was diverted to another but not by choice but by the wishes of a madman who changed the world, the New York Skyline and too many lives that day. Crashing into a deserted field instead of the Capitol in Washington and defacing and destroying our national symbol, the two men flying that plane made a decision that would change the lives of their families and keep them in our hearts and minds forever.
As we hear the voice of the author and LeRoy’s wife the reader will learn the truth behind what happened that day, her life before this tragedy occurred and things changed. She tells the story in her own words, the frustrations faced when dealing with United Airlines, the friendships she made and the heartache of losing her life’s partner and much more. From Where I Stand is a memoir and even more. It is an honest account of what not just Melodie Homer went through and her children too. Allowing the reader to enter her life, take part in her meeting LeRoy, understanding how they met and finally married helps the reader understand why their relationship was so special and how his death created more than just a void and whole in her heart and life. Ten years since that day and she and so many others will never forget. Some replaced loved ones yet others stand tall and survive on their own.
Watching that morning as Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower must have been surreal as I saw the same thing. Not believing what was right in front of me it was even more horrifying to see another plane crash into the North Tower. I knew this could not be an air traffic problem. Imagine how the author felt worry about whether LeRoy was okay and whether his flight really landed in San Francisco not knowing the entire truth. Then another plane crashed into the Pentagon and still no real word about LeRoy or his flight. As one friend calls to tell her that Flight 93 was the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania her heart must have stopped and the whole world changed. The harsh reality set in the phone calls made and her life would never be the same. As Melodie describes the events of the day and what really happened to Flight 93 you begin to wonder where those in charge were, why they were so lax in telling her truth and why they did not own up to what really happened?
All four pilot’s wives from that flight were assigned pilots from the Airlines Flight Pilots Association to advocate for them.
Did you ever feel like life was going on yet you did not really feel you were living it or understanding what was going on around you? What would have happened had LeRoy had the Swiss Army Knife he always packed? Would the outcome have been any different?
The most difficult thing is the Memorial Service when you lose someone you really and truly love. September 21, 2001 would be a day she would never forget. Why is it that everyone takes the time to remember when someone is gone but when the person is living or something wonderful is about to happen they have no time? Memorial services remind us that we need to embrace loved ones when they are still here. What great testament to LeRoy having so many there. Yet, Melodie still felt numb. Then, realizing she did not have a plan she heard her inner voice guiding her to what needed to be done next.
When the reality of what United was doing in regard to her benefits set in she could not believe it. A package was delivered that stated she would lose her medical and dental coverage, flight privileges for family would no longer be extended and no where was this brought out even before her husband was killed. Without the help of the Airlines Flight Pilots Association she would have gotten even less. From his pay statement to his benefit package United did not own up to what they should have and life would become even more difficult. Meeting the wives of the other pilots who were killed helped form a support group that would always be with her and the others too.
Voices need to be heard and Melodie, Ellen, Miriam and contacted Good Morning America and made sure their concerns were heard by the nation. After meeting with the interim CEO of United and hoping he would honor their requests nothing much came out of the meeting and the final letter or result was restoring their medical benefits although they would have to pay the monthly premiums. Dental benefits no longer covered, reduced fares for the parent’s of the fallen pilots no longer extended and much more was taken away as these four women courageously answered the letter, aired their opinions and hoped that the public would draw some national attention for them and cause United to honor their own. There is much more to this story and much more that you will learn about the CEO of this airline and what caused him to have to resign and the compensation he should not have received. Many failed these four women and many others. Many agencies, our government and you might say even the White House. But, there is much more to tell.
Listening to the Cockpit Recording, the emotions it evoked, the reporters that hounded her, the different agencies she contacted and the many who supported her this story is one that definitely needed to be told. But, the sad part is the way United treated the wives of those murdered and the apathy they showed in many situations. The chapter where she shares her feelings about LeRoy, handling her emotions with help, becoming too dependent on medications and who she finally helped Laurel to learn about her father and more really bring back that day to not just Melodie but to anyone that was affected by the events, lost a loved one or really listened and understood what happened.
When things started to settle down for her and life was beginning to be normal President Bush announced we were invading Iraq and this brought it all back and what happened to her and why you need to read to understand for yourself. She lost more than LeRoy that day she lost friends too. The story will never come to a close and the events will always be fresh in her mind. Fighting for her benefits, the security for her and her children learning how to finally deal with PTS using Eve movement desensitization and reprocessing helped her through.
Although is has been ten years since that day the memories will never fade, his voice heard in her mind, and the pride in knowing that he gave his life to safe others. Melodie Homer you certainly have a purpose in this world. You have two children who need your guidance, love and nurturing to help keep their father alive in their hearts forever and share your memories of him with both of them. The foundation is keeping LeRoy alive and helping others who want to become pilots and hopefully never have to experience what he did but are properly trained is paramount to who you are and the wonderful work you are doing for so many. With the support of Ellen, Sandy, Miriam, your family and children you will definitely see the sunlight and allow the clouds to dim and finally fade. Laurel’s smile should be a ray of light into your heart and your son’s too. The pictures in your book bring LeRoy into the lives of everyone honored to have read your story. Thank you for the honor of reading and reviewing this book, telling your story and hoping that many others will read the book, hear your voice, listen to your words and never forget that day.
Life is precious and to those who think that America will allow you to intimidate, take us over or let this happen again: You have the wrong Country and the wrong people. Thank you for sharing your story. Heartfelt, straightforward, honest, direct and truthfully told as author, mother, wife and widow of LeRoy W. Homer shares her story and her special husband, pilot, father, son, brother and hero with us.
This book gets five GOLDEN STARS
FRAN LEWIS: REVIEWER
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