Pilot shares 9/11 story with students

Steve Scheibner
Steve Scheibner

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - American Airlines Flight 11 was the first plane hijacked to hit the World Trade Center 11 years ago.  No one aboard survived the crash.

For one man, the words "counting his blessings" are an understatement.

"I was originally scheduled to be the co-pilot of Flight 11," said Steve Scheibner.  "The day before, on the 10th, I got bumped to three o'clock in the afternoon. I had already packed my bags to go to Los Angeles."

A reserve U.S. Navy commander, Scheibner should have gotten a call to confirm his flight, but never did.  Instead, Tom McGinnis, a senior pilot who needed some additional flying hours bumped Scheibner off, in turn, sparing Scheibner's life.

"As September 11th was going down, it took me a while to realize that was the plane I had actually packed my bags to go on," he said. "All these past 11 years, I've been going around and telling people the story or what it means to live on borrowed time."

His wife turned her husband's story into a book - now required reading for Parkview Baptist School.  On Tuesday, Scheibner was in the Capital City addressing those children to recount the country's worst terrorist attack.

"For many of them now, it's also a historical event, so I want to keep it fresh in their minds," he said.

To make sure future generations understand the Freedom Tower stands tall and shines bright, but at a cost no one should ever forget.

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