Of all the big and small stories to come out of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, few are more heart-rending than that of a young Air National Guard  pilot who was ready and willing to crash her unarmed F-16 jet fighter into one of the hijacked passenger airliners to keep more people from being killed.

Major Heather "Lucky" Penney is alive to tell that story today because she and her fellow pilot got into the air too late to stop United flight 93, the plane that was heading for Washington.

The passengers on that plane took care of that themselves. They fought back and forced the plane to crash in western Pennsylvania.

Penney's incredible story shows how far our men and women in uniform are willing to go to protect their country.

via F-16 pilot was ready to give her life on Sept. 11 - The Washington Post.

In a startling footnote to her story, Penney learned later that her father, a pilot for United Airlines, was on duty that day and he could have been flying one of the hijacked United planes.  If worse had come to worst, in sacrificing herself, she might have brought down her father's plane.

Here's a link to that story in the Washington Post.

Penney says even if she had known her father was on Flight 93, it would have made no difference.  Her mission was to do whatever was necessary to stop the hijacked plane, and she would have done her duty.

Her father says that's one of many reasons he is so proud of his daughter.