[Congressional Record Volume 148, Number 110 (Wednesday, September 4, 2002)]
[House]
[Pages H6016-H6018]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




              THOMAS E. BURNETT, JR. POST OFFICE BUILDING

  Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 5207) to designate the facility of the United States Postal 
Service located at 6101 West Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington, 
Minnesota, as the ``Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. Post Office Building.''
  The Clerk read as follows:

                               H.R. 5207

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. THOMAS E. BURNETT, JR. POST OFFICE BUILDING.

       (a) Designation.--The facility of the United States Postal 
     Service located at 6101 West Old Shakopee Road in 
     Bloomington, Minnesota, shall be known and designated as the 
     ``Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. Post Office Building''.
       (b) References.--Any reference in a law, map, regulation, 
     document, paper, or other record of the United States to the 
     facility referred to in subsection (a) shall be deemed to be 
     a reference to the Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. Post Office 
     Building.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Maryland (Mrs. Morella) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella).


                             General Leave

  Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their 
remarks on H.R. 5207.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Maryland?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 5207, introduced by our distinguished colleague, 
the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad), designates the postal 
facility located at 6101 West Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington, 
Minnesota, as the Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. Post Office Building.
  Tom Burnett grew up in the Minnesota-St. Paul suburb of Bloomington 
in the district of the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad). He woke 
up on the morning of September 11, 2001, and headed to Newark 
International for a morning flight. Tom was returning home to San 
Ramon, California, following a business meeting in New Jersey. He 
boarded United Flight 93 bound for San Francisco, settled into seat 4C, 
and prepared for the nearly 3,000-mile flight.
  Almost 1 hour into Flight 93's journey, the plane turned around. 
Shortly thereafter, Tom called his wife Deena and told her that his 
plane had been taken over by four men. Tom told his wife that he and 
two other passengers were determined to do something to take Flight 93 
back.
  Tom's wife replied that planes had already crashed into the World 
Trade Center towers and the Pentagon that morning. Tom Burnett and a 
few other passengers of Flight 93 overpowered the terrorists and 
crashed the plane into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The 
hijacked plane, apparently headed for Washington, may have been on its 
way to crashing into this very building, this very building.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate our esteemed colleague, the gentleman from 
Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad), for introducing this measure that honors 
Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. Tom Burnett was a man who personified the 
American virtues of humility and bravery. I urge all

[[Page H6017]]

Members of this House to support the adoption of H.R. 5207.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 5207, to designate the facility of the United 
States Postal Service located at 6101 West Old Shakopee Road in 
Bloomington, Minnesota, as the Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. Post Office 
Building, was introduced by the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad) 
on July 24, 2002.
  As an American hero, Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. was a passenger on board 
the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed outside of 
Pittsburgh on September 11, 2001.
  Thomas Burnett was among a group of passengers who decided to take 
action against the terrorists who had hijacked Flight 93 with plans to 
crash the plane in Washington, D.C.
  Who was Mr. Burnett? He was 38 and a resident of San Ramon, 
California, the senior vice president and chief operating officer of 
Thoratec Corporation, a medical research and development company; 
husband to Mrs. Deena Burnett; father of three young girls: Madison, 
Halley, and Anna-Clair; the son of Thomas and Beverly Burnett, Sr.; and 
brother to Martha O'Brien and Mary Margaret Burnett.
  He was also a man of character who was able to contact his wife 
during the terrible journey of Flight 93 and let her know that, and I 
quote, ``A group of us are going to do something,'' and something they 
did. That something was to make sure the hijackers did not hit a 
populated area.
  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Burnett and others made a very heroic stand on 
September 11, 2001. Together they took control of the plane and saved 
many, many lives. They demonstrated leadership and courage, and deserve 
to be recognized.
  Accordingly, I urge the swift passage of this bill and commend my 
colleague, the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad), for seeking to 
honor Mr. Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., in this manner. He exemplified the 
thought and the action that ``If it is to be, let it begin with me.''
  Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield such time as he may 
consume to the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad), the introducer 
of this legislation.
  Mr. RAMSTAD. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, the gentlewoman from 
Maryland (Mrs. Morella), for yielding time to me, for her assistance 
with this legislation, and also for her kind tribute to Tom Burnett, 
Jr.
  I also thank my friend, the gentleman from Illinois, (Mr. Davis), for 
his tribute to Tom Burnett, Jr., and for his assistance with this 
legislation as well.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a true American hero. The 
legislation before us, H.R. 5207, would rename the West Bloomington, 
Minnesota, post office in my district in honor of Bloomington native 
Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., a true American hero.
  I want to express my appreciation also to the chairman and my friend, 
the gentleman from Indiana, and my friend, the ranking member, the 
gentleman from California, as well as the majority leader, my friend, 
the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Armey), for allowing this bill to come to 
the floor so expeditiously so that we can pass it by September 11.
  Mr. Speaker, I introduced this legislation at the request of 
Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead and the Bloomington City Council, which 
unanimously passed a resolution of support.
  Most of us know the story of Tom Burnett, Jr., who was on board 
United Flight 93 when it was hijacked by the terrorists on September 
11. Tom, as the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) explained, was able 
to reach his wife, Deena, on his cell phone and told her, ``We've got 
to do something. I know we are all going to die. There are three of us 
who are going to do something about it.''
  Led by Tom Burnett, Jr., the passengers aboard United Flight 93 
showed tremendous courage in taking on the evil terrorists who intended 
to kill as many Americans as possible. As we all know, that plane 
crashed in Pennsylvania, instead of hitting the terrorists' intended 
target of this building, the United States Capitol, according to FBI 
Director Mueller.

                              {time}  1600

  We all owe a deep debt of gratitude to Tom Burnett, Jr., and the 
other brave Americans on Flight 93. Tom Burnett was not even originally 
scheduled to be on that fateful flight, I might add. And I will never 
forget the words at Tom's funeral mass of long-time Burnett family 
friend, Father Joe Slepicka, who said, ``Ancient history tells us God 
seems to call the right people in the right time and place to do the 
right things for the good of others.''
  Mr. Speaker, God called Tom Burnett, Jr., and Tom did the right thing 
for the good of others.
  Tom Burnett grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, the son of Thomas and 
Beverly Burnett, Sr. He was the quarterback of the Thomas Jefferson 
High School football team and led his team to the State championship 
game in 1980. Tom married Deena in 1992 and they have three beautiful 
children, Madison, Halley and Anna-Clair. Tom was also a highly 
successful business executive and had many other credits to his name.
  Mr. Speaker, Tom Burnett, Jr., will always be remembered both as a 
great and a good man who loved his family and loved America. As Tom, 
Sr., said, ``There weren't many shades of gray in Tommy. He was loyal 
to his country and loyal to his family and he knew right from wrong.''
  The people of Bloomington, Minnesota, Tom Burnett's hometown, have 
honored Tom's memory in several lasting ways. On the Friday after the 
September 11 attacks, the Bloomington Jefferson High School football 
team wore Tom's number 10 on their helmets. On this coming Thursday at 
Bloomington Stadium when Jefferson plays crosstown rival Bloomington 
Kennedy, Tom's jersey number will be retired. A memorial scholarship 
fund has been established in Tom Burnett's honor, and a collection of 
Tom's favorite books was placed in his former high school's media 
center. A white oak tree was planted in Tom Burnett's honor in front of 
his home church, St. Edward's Catholic Church in Bloomington, where Tom 
was confirmed and where his funeral was held.
  A large fieldstone was placed in front of the tree with the words 
from the Book of John, Chapter 15, verse 13, ``There is no greater love 
than to lay down one's life for one's friend.'' Mr. Speaker, that says 
it all about Tom Burnett, Jr.
  Tom's ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten by his family, his 
community and his grateful Nation. Tom Burnett, Sr., fondly remembers a 
conversation with his son on the 50th anniversary of the D-day invasion 
in France when Tom, Jr., prophetically wondered out loud whether he, 
Tom Burnett, Jr., would have had the same level of courage those 
soldiers had during the invasion of Normandy Beach. On September 11, 
Tom, Jr., was tested and he certainly showed that level of courage, 
courage that inspires all of us today, courage of an American hero.
  Our Nation owes a deep debt of gratitude for Tom Burnett's bravery on 
September 11. Naming a post office in Tom Burnett's hometown in 
Bloomington, Minnesota is one meaningful and lasting way Congress and 
the President can honor his heroism and his memory. I urge my 
colleagues to join me in supporting this important legislation to 
rename the West Bloomington Post Office the Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. Post 
Office.
  Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. RAMSTAD. I yield to the gentleman from California.
  Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend congratulations to 
the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad) for this very important 
resolution.
  He mentioned the fact that Flight 93 was destined to come to this 
building. And as we rapidly approach the anniversary of September 11, 
we know that this Capitol dome is a symbol, not only here in the United 
States, but to the entire world, of freedom. So the sacrifice that Tom 
Burnett and the others on Flight 93 made is something that is very, 
very worth recognizing, and I think that naming this post office is a 
very appropriate effort that the gentleman has put into place here. And 
I would simply like to congratulate my friend for what he has done 
here.

[[Page H6018]]

  Mr. RAMSTAD. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman from 
California, my friend, the chairman of the Committee on Rules, for his 
very, very kind and thoughtful remarks.
  Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Speaker, I also would like to thank the gentleman 
from Minnesota (Mr. Ramstad) for his moving tribute and for introducing 
this legislation. We do believe it is quite appropriate, in a very 
small way, as a matter of fact, to dedicate and name this post office 
for Tom Burnett who is a hero to all of us. So I ask adoption of this 
measure by this House.
  Mrs. TAUSCHER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 5207, a 
bill to designate a post office in Bloomington, Minnesota, as the 
Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., Post Office Building. This legislation reflects 
the spirit of the American people in the aftermath of last year's 
terrorist attacks, to honor a man that we know to be a hero, who used 
the last few precious minutes of his own life to save the lives of so 
many others. I am fortunate to have been able to serve Tom Burnett as 
his U.S. Representative.
  The American people will forever remember Thomas Burnett as a hero. 
But to his wife, parents, three daughters and loved ones, he was a man 
of courage and strength long before September 11, 2001.
  Tom Burnett grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, as a child who loved 
sports and the outdoors. From fishing with his dad, to becoming the 
star quarterback in high school, Tom was the image of an athlete and 
the all-American guy. After studying at the Air Force Academy and later 
graduating from Pepperdine University, he went on to become a senior 
executive of a company that makes medical devices.
  Then, on September 11, the all-American guy became the all-American 
hero. Thomas Burnett and others aboard made the decision to take down 
the plane somewhere above Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, after 
learning of the fates of the three hijacked aircraft.
  That morning, Tom Burnett called his wife Deena repeatedly, pumping 
her for information. Later, it was no surprise to her that Tom led the 
effort to bring the plane down before it could take more lives.
  But the result was that thanks to the bravery of people like Tom 
Burnett, countless innocent lives were saved, including our own, and 
our nation's Capitol was spared.
  Many believe terrorists were going to use the fourth plane, Flight 
93, as a weapon to crash into another site in Washington, DC. Whether 
it was the United States Capitol Building or the White House, we will 
never know.
  This was the ultimate act of bravery and sacrifice from the 
passengers and crew of United Flight 93, and those who enter our 
nation's Capitol each day should cherish their valiance.
  As the day approaches that will mark the first anniversary of the 
terrorist attacks, we should all step back for a moment to remember why 
it may be that our nation's Capitol still stands today, or why the 
White House remains untouched.
  It was because of the courage of Tom Burnett and others, truly among 
the great heroes of our nation.
  There may never be answers for all the questions that surround the 
events of September 11, 2001, or closure for all of those around the 
world who suffered the loss of loved ones in this tragedy.
  But it is in our power to make sure that we appropriately honor 
Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., and our other fellow Americans who suddenly 
became heroes on September 11. Let us thank and remember him by passing 
this legislation.
  Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Culberson). The question is on the 
motion offered by the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella) that the 
House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 5207.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor 
thereof) the rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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