Thursday, September 11, 2014

On 9/11. Remembering Daniel Lewin. The First victim

 This one is for the nutbars, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists who continue to claim that no Jews were killed on 9/11.

Remembering Daniel Lewin, z'l.

His remarkable life, cut short by terror, was the subject of a biography published last year, "No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet."

In 1984 , Daniel Lewin moved with his family to Israel.  He served in the Israel Defense Forces as an officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal for 4 years.  After graduating from the Technion, he received a scholarship for graduate studies at MIT.  While at MIT, he worked on the theoretical side of computer science, developing innovative algorithms to enable web sites to handle heavy traffic.  He co-founded Akamai Techonologies which handles 30% of the worlds internet traffic and posted an annual revenue of $1.37 billion in 2012.

Daniel Lewin was one of the 81 passengers, nine crew members, and two pilots on American Airlines Flight 11  when it took off from Boston’s Logan Airport.early on Sept. 11, 2001.  Daniel was sitting in business class seat 9b.

From an article in Psychology today

Flight 11 took off on schedule and headed due west, holding course for 16 minutes until it passed Worcester, Massachusetts. Then, instead of taking a southerly turn, it swung north and failed to climb to its assigned cruising altitude. At this point,  it’s possible Lewin suspected—perhaps before anyone else on the flight—that something terrible was about to happen. Having trained in the IDF’s most elite counterterrorism unit,  he had learned to identify signs of attacks well before they were carried out. He also knew conversational Arabic,  enough to have picked up on verbal cues if the five Middle Eastern passengers gave any. 

About 8:15 the bloody hijacking began. The terrorists—wielding box cutters and knives—rose from their seats in business class and began to threaten passengers and crew.  Most of what we know comes from reports by two flight attendants,  Betty Ong and Madeline Amy Sweeney, who calmly relayed the details as they unfolded. At 8:19, Ong told flight control: “The cockpit is not answering,  somebody’s stabbed in business class... I think there’s Mace... we can’t breathe... I think we’re getting hijacked.” In a separate call, Sweeney reported the plane had been hijacked and two flight attendants had been stabbed.  Sweeney also confirmed that a passenger in business class had been stabbed to death; his throat slashed by one of the terrorists. The passenger, she said, was sitting in 9B.

The 9/11 Commission concluded that in those first 20 minutes of the flight,  Mohamed Atta—the only terrorist on board trained to fly a jet—probably moved to the cockpit from his business-class seat (located near Lewin’s seat),  possibly accompanied by Abdulaziz al-Omari. As this was happening,  Lewin,  who was seated in the row just behind Atta and Omari, was stabbed in the neck by one of the hijackers—probably Satam al-Suqami, who was seated directly behind Lewin,  out of his view. 

Those who knew Daniel best believe he was killed after attempting to thwart the hijacking.

Remembering today and always, the brief life of Daniel Lewin, and all those who perished 13 years ago on September 11, 2001.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I never heard Daniel Lewin's story before but I'm certain that he was killed trying to save the lives of others. He was a real hero and I won't forget him again!!! There's always been so much talk about the horrors experienced by the people caught in the building or the rescuers on the ground that no one considered the terror of the people on the plane who knew they had been hijacked and that they were going to die!! May Daniel Lewin's memory be a blessing to all Israel!