Project 2,996: Linda Gronlund

2010 September 11
by lurker1


Linda Gronlund

September 13, 1954 – September 11, 2001

Linda Gronlund, Greenwood Lake, N.Y., was a passenger on United Airlines flight 93 bound for San Francisco on September 11, 2001. As one of the 40 passengers and crew on that flight, she was among the few killed that day who had some understanding of what was about to happen. She placed a call to her younger sister, Elsa, leaving her the message that they had been hijacked by terrorists and that she knew about the World Trade Center planes. Part of the transcript of this message relates what is likely the feeling of many on Flight 93 and captures the tragedy of that day:

Mostly, I just wanted to say I love you … and … I’m going to miss you … and … and Please give my love to Mom and Dad, and … mostly, I just love you and I wanted to tell you that… I don’t know if I’m going to get the chance to tell you that again or not… I love you and I hope that I can talk to you soon. Bye”.

Linda was an accomplished sailor, scuba diver, car mechanic and gardener, but had a particular passion for with cars. For her high school graduation in 1972, she built a car with her father: a maroon, fiberglass car on a Volkswagen chassis that looked like a Lamborghini but still had a VW engine. She called it the “Aardvark.” In college she studied to be an oceanographer and graduated magna cum laude from Southampton College of Long Island University with degrees in English and Marine Chemistry. After law school at the American University in Washington, DC., she worked with a private law firm, but she soon combined her legal career with her passion for cars by joining Volvo’s North American office, and by 1990 she had moved to BMW North America. She ultimately became a manager of environmental compliance in BMW’s engineering department.

On September 11, 2001, Linda Gronlund was traveling with her boyfriend, Joe DeLuca, to celebrate her birthday two days later with a vacation tour of California vineyards. Many of her friends and co-workers believe that she might have been among the heroic passengers that diverted Flight 93 away from potential targets in Washington, DC. United Airlines Flight 93 was the only aircraft that failed to reach its intended target due to the actions of its passengers. The plane crashed in a field in near Shanksville, in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, 150 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.

Whatever her role that day, she was there at the moment when the cowardly tactics of the terrorists ceased to ever be effective again. She was 46 years old.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. 2010 September 11 1:33 pm
    TLS permalink

    It is hard to convey how in the midst of such tragedy that you can have such a feeling of pride. The passengers and crew of Flight 93 made me proud to be an American. They stood up for all of us that day and said “Not on my watch.” Thank you Linda, and your fellow soldiers!

  2. 2011 September 11 7:55 am
    CathySMC permalink

    Linda was indeed a hero that day. she like the others on United Flight 93 were cognizant of what they faced. they made a decision… unthinkable decision for the greater good. May God give those they left behind comfort.

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