Gail Heriot at Instapundit recalls a young woman who died a third of a century ago and who all Americans should remember:
Bloodthirsty and dissatisfied with the speed of the negotiators’ response, the chief hijacker shot Kumar in the head and dumped him onto the tarmac. He died before he reached the hospital. Thereafter, they told the negotiators, a passenger would be executed every 15 minutes until a pilot was produced.
The hijackers then turned to purser Neerja Bhanot, who remained calm and collected even when a gun was put to her head. They demanded that she and the flight attendants under her control collect the passports from all passengers. Believing that the hijackers intended to kill the more than 40 Americans on board, she had the flight attendants hide some of the American passports in the seats and dumped the rest of them down the rubbish chute.
For a time, the hijackers considered executing a British national instead, but ultimately did not.
Meanwhile, Bhanot surreptitiously handed a passenger the instructions, hidden in a magazine, for how to open the door and deploy the slide in case the opportunity arose.
The hijackers were stymied. By late evening, the auxiliary power unit shut down, causing all but the emergency lights to come down. At that point, the hijackers tried to set off the explosive belt one of them was wearing. If they’d been successful, they could have blown up everyone on board. Instead, the explosion was rather puny. Immediately, they began shooting their guns and throwing grenades. With bullets ricocheting off the walls, passengers were dying everywhere.
In the bloody melee, Bhanot was able to open one of the aircraft doors. She could have escaped herself, but instead one-by-one she assisted passengers out the door. She died as a result of wounds suffered shielding three children from the hail of bullets.
(The passenger who had been slipped the instructions by Bhanot got his door open too and was able to deploy the slide. So Bhanot gets credit for causing two doors to open.)
Go here to read the rest. God rest her gallant soul.