On the 17th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Mike Rowe shared a powerful message for Nike and Colin Kaepernick. Rowe received 100,000 “likes” in just four hours of posting his message.
Last week, Nike introduced Colin Kaepernick as the new face of the company’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, claiming Kaepernick had “sacrificed everything” for what he believes in. Typically, former “Dirty Jobs” host and outspoken conservative Mike Rowe weighs in on trending social issues like Kaepernick’s Nike deal. However, this time, he was notably silent. And his fans took notice. “You’ve been very quiet about the Kaepernick PR disaster at Nike. Any thoughts?” asked a social media user named Sam Wilder.
As it turns out, Rowe had waited a week to comment on Nike’s decision to make Kaepernick the face of their new advertising campaign for one very important reason: to illustrate what it really means to sacrifice everything.
“Hi Sam,” Rowe wrote on Facebook. “Nike’s free to celebrate whomever they wish, and Kaepernick is entitled to his opinion – kneeling, standing, or lying down. But if I was going to put someone’s face on a billboard – someone who epitomized bravery and sacrifice – I might have gone another way, especially this time of year. I might have gone with this guy – Tom Burnett.”
“Tom’s last act on earth was one of the most courageous things imaginable. And his last words to his wife, Deena, are among the most inspiring I’ve ever heard,” Rowe explained, according to Townhall. “They were spoken seventeen years ago, under conditions I hope to never experience. I’ll never forget Tom’s last words. I hope you won’t either.”
Rowe was referring to Burnett’s calls to Deena after his flight was hijacked by radical Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2001. Here is the transcript of his first call to Deena:
6:27 a.m. PST First cell phone call from Tom to Deena
Deena: Tom, are you O.K.?
Tom: No, I’m not. I’m on an airplane that has been hijacked.
Tom: Yes, They just knifed a guy.
Deena: A passenger?
Deena: Where are you? Are you in the air?
Tom: Yes, yes, just listen. Our airplane has been hijacked. It’s United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco. We are in the air. The hijackers have already knifed a guy, one of them has a gun, they are telling us there is a bomb on board, please call the authorities. (Tom hangs up.)
Moments later, Deena called 911 to alert authorities about what her husband had just called to tell her. During that call, her phone rang on call-waiting. It was Tom. This is the transcript from their second conversation:
Tom: They’re in the cockpit. The guy they knifed is dead.
Deena: He’s dead?
Tom: Yes. I tried to help him, but I couldn’t get a pulse.
Deena: Tom, they are hijacking planes all up and down the east coast. They are taking them and hitting designated targets. They’ve already hit both towers of the World Trade Center.
Tom: They’re talking about crashing this plane. (a pause) Oh my God. It’s a suicide mission…(he then tells people sitting around him)
Deena: Who are you talking to?
Tom: My seatmate. Do you know which airline is involved?
Deena: No, they don’t know if they’re commercial airlines or not. The newsreporters are speculating cargo planes, private planes and commercial. No one knows.
Tom: How many planes are there?
Deena: They’re not sure, at least three. Maybe more.
Tom: O.K….O.K….Do you know who is involved?
Tom: We’re turning back toward New York. We’re going back to the World Trade Center. No, wait, we’re turning back the other way. We’re going south.
Deena: What do you see?
Tom: Just a minute, I’m looking. I don’t see anything, we’re over a rural area. It’s just fields. I’ve gotta go.
At 6:45 a.m. Tom called Deena once again:
Deena: Tom, you’re O.K. (She believed at this point that he had just survived the Pentagon plane crash).
Tom: No, I’m not.
Deena: They just hit the Pentagon.
Tom: (tells people sitting around him “They just hit the Pentagon.”)
Tom: O.K….O.K. What else can you tell me?
Deena: They think five airplanes have been hijacked. One is still on the ground. They believe all of them are commercial planes. I haven’t heard them say which airline, but all of them have originated on the east coast.
Tom: Do you know who is involved?
Tom: What is the probability of their having a bomb on board? I don’t think they have one. I think they’re just telling us that for crowd control.
Deena: A plane can survive a bomb if it’s in the right place.
Tom: Did you call the authorities?
Deena: Yes, they didn’t know anything about your plane.
Tom: They’re talking about crashing this plane into the ground. We have to do something. I’m putting a plan together.
Deena: Who’s helping you?
Tom: Different people. Several people. There’s a group of us. Don’t worry. I’ll call you back.
Tom’s fourth call to Deena on that fateful morning would ultimately mark the final time he would ever speak to his wife:
Tom: Hi. Anything new?
Tom: Where are the kids?
Deena: They’re fine. They’re sitting at the table having breakfast. They’re asking to talk to you.
Tom: Tell them I’ll talk to them later.
Deena: I called your parents. They know your plane has been hijacked.
Tom: Oh…you shouldn’t have worried them. How are they doing?
Deena: They’re O.K.. Mary and Martha are with them.
(a long quiet pause)
Tom: We’re waiting until we’re over a rural area. We’re going to take back the airplane.
Deena: No! Sit down, be still, be quiet, and don’t draw attention to yourself!
Tom: Deena! If they’re going to crash this plane into the ground, we’re going to have to do something!
Deena: What about the authorities?
Tom: We can’t wait for the authorities. I don’t know what they could do anyway.
It’s up to us. I think we can do it.
Deena: What do you want me to do?
Tom: Pray, Deena, just pray.
(after a long pause)
Deena: I love you.
Tom: Don’t worry, we’re going to do something…
Today, on this 17th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, please remember those who actually sacrificed everything; those who will never return home to kiss their spouses or hold their children one last time. Heroes like Tom Burnett.