Sandra Waugh Bradshaw
Last month, my family visited the flight 93 memorial. We were moved by the heroism of the men and women of flight 93. Sandy Bradshaw’s story particularly touched me as a mother.
Just a few years before 2001, Sandra Waugh Bradshaw was juggling dual careers -- flight attendant and mother. She was home in Greensboro, N.C. with her year-old daughter, Alexandria. In the coming year, her son Nathan would arrive.
By 2001, Bradshaw, 38, had cut back her workload and her husband, Phil, had urged her quit. She had 2 small children and a 16-year-old stepdaughter. Sandy loved to fly and had been an attendant for 11 years. Her personnel file was filled with glowing reviews for happy passengers.
"She just liked the one-on-one that you have with people up there," Phil Bradshaw said. She ordinarily worked first class as it was a great fit for her friendly attitude, but on Flight 93 she was in economy as a late-addition to the flight.
As Sandy Bradshaw made an urgent call to her husband to tell him her flight had been hijacked, she began filling coffee pitchers with boiling hot water. A plan was brewing.
"Everyone's running to first class," Sandy Bradshaw told her husband. "I've got to go. Bye."
Instead of reaching its intended target in Washington, D.C., United Flight 93 crashed in an empty Pennsylvania field after passengers and crew tried to wrest control of the commercial jet from hijackers.
Sandy’s mother remembers her as a bubbly daughter who loved gardening and animals. She sees bits of that in Sandy’s children. Alexandria, 12 and a sixth-grader, loves animals. And Nathan, 10 and a fourth-grader, shares Sandy’s bubbly personality.
“I hate it that she’s not here to be a mother to them,” Waugh said.
Sandy Bradshaw would have turned 48 this June.
Sandy Bradshaw was the second-oldest of Waugh’s five children.
“It’s not easy losing a child. That’s the hardest loss I’ve had,” she said. “You have to cope and go on. You have to do what you have to do.”
“Maybe Sandy was chosen to do this job that day because she was a strong person and a fighter, and she could do what she had to do that day,” Waugh said.
Over the years she has visited the site in Pennsylvania for quiet contemplation.
2,996 people perished in the attacks on September 11, 2001. Each one has their own story. Some short, some long, some extraordinary, some ordinary. Each priceless and precious in their own way. Share their stories today, honor their lives. If you have a tribute to make, post it at the 2996 Project.God Bless the USA and God Bless the World.