Local woman managed FAA facility that stopped flights on 9/11

Key decision-maker to speak about experience


Many people can tell you where they were on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. But few have memories as unique as those of one local resident, Linda Schuessler.

On that day, Schuessler was manager of the FAA's Air Traffic Control Command Center just outside Washington, D.C. It was there that the decision had to be made to stop air traffic across the nation.

“Although the decision to execute the first unplanned shutdown of the United States airspace was unprecedented, we make real-time decisions daily and sometimes under very trying conditions,” said Schuessler.  “We, at the Command Center, coordinated these unprecedented efforts on a national level with the FAA facilities, all aviation companies, other countries and more.”

That morning, al-Qaeda conducted four coordinated terrorist attacks in the United States using civilian airplanes. These attacks brought down the north and south towers of the World Trade Center, hit the Pentagon and resulted in a plane crash in western Pennsylvania.

In all, 2,977 people were killed.

In the years following the attacks, Schuessler became the FAA Operational Focal Point for Security working with the DOD, NORAD, the Secret Service, the CIA and the White House.

This Saturday, Sept. 11, Schuessler will give a half-hour presentation about that unforgettable day two decades ago during a special service titled “20 Years Later: We remember 9/11” at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 276 Roscoe Blvd. North, Ponte Vedra Beach. The service begins at 10 a.m.

Schuessler’s presentation will be preceded and followed with prayers from Pastor Kerry Hinkley for those who perished that day as well as those who aided the rescue and recovery efforts. The church will hand out U.S. flag pins to those attending.  

There will be a question-and-answer period, and refreshments served afterwards. The church seats up to 70 people. Attendees are asked to consider wearing a mask.

Lord of Life Lutheran Church is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), one of the largest Christian organizations in the United States with more than 3.3 million members.

For further information about the church, go to www.lordoflifepvb.org, or find it on Facebook @lordoflifepontevedra or on Instagram @lordoflifepvb.


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