9/11 – Remembering September 11th, Join us as we interview Brian Birdwell, the closest survivor to the point of impact at the Pentagon.
Air Date: 09/11/2017
Guests: Brian Birdwell, David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
- WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.
- Brian Birdwell’s I am Second video
- Chasing American Legends episode with Brian telling his story.
- Pastors Only Briefing Trip
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, this is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state rep, national speaker, and author.
Find out more about us and the program at our websites WallBuilders.com and also WallBuildersLive.com. Check out both those websites today for a wealth of information.
We Were In D.C. On 9/11
Special day to day, it’s 9/11. David, Tim, this is obviously a day where we want to remember what happened here in America. We also have a special guest coming on later in the program, our good friend Colonel Brian Birdwell who was the closest survivor to the point of impact at the Pentagon.
So, injured greatly in that, and has an incredible testimony. We’ll talk more about that. But this is a day to remember and also to learn. We’ve got a whole generation that was born after 9/11 happened that didn’t live through that day like we did in terms of witnessing it or being a part of it.
Tim and I are in Washington D.C. right now because tomorrow we start a pastors conference that goes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Today, actually tonight, we are with Lieutenant Colonel Birdwell at a dinner that he’s doing over by the Capitol.
The first time I met Colonel Birdwell was after 9/11. But on 9/11 we were in D.C. back in 2001, 16 years ago. We were doing a pastors conference back then, the pastors conference was going to start the next day.
As we awakened that morning we heard this really big boom. We were there in the room and heard this boom and we go, “What in the world was that?” And didn’t think anything about it. Turn on the TV and saw what was happening out in New York at that point.
Then we opened the door and looked out and saw smoke rising from over at the Pentagon. “What in the world happened over there?” And then we hear emergency vehicles running everywhere.
I get calls from some of my friends in the White House that they are being physically lifted and thrown out the windows over the gates at the White House because they’ve heard that a plane is coming to the White House, to crash and blow it up.
We walked outside and there were suddenly military vehicles going up and down Independence Avenue, Constitution Avenue, or around the Capitol. And within just a couple of hours it was a ghost town.
As busy as Washington D.C. was, by probably lunchtime there was nothing on the streets except these big armored vehicles, 50 caliber guns, running up and down the streets.
Then a little later that afternoon we walked over to the Capitol and all the members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, stepped out on the outside of Capitol wanted to send a message to the terrorists and so they sang together, “God bless America.”
We’re just watching all this stuff happen, still watching the Pentagon burn a couple of miles away, seeing the smoke and having no idea that at the time that it’s burning part of that smoke is being created by the body of Lieutenant Colonel Birdwell.
He was engulfed with jet fuel when the plane hit the building. As the plane went through the building, right in front of him, the plane passing by in front of him just through fire all over him and set his body on fire because he’s covered with the jet fuel from the plane, and now he is set on fire, he’s burning, and he can’t find his way out. He literally was a blaze burning the clothes and burns skin off.
He finally worked his way out, unbelievable testimony, thirty nine surgeries later he is now intact. If you look at him now you can- you look at him say, “Something might have happened to him at some point.” But you really wouldn’t recognize it as being as severe as it was.
But they have rebuilt his face. He has ears, which he didn’t have then because they were burned off. He has eyelids which he didn’t have because they were burned off. They’ve just rebuilt so much of who he is.
Now he serves as a state senator in the state of Texas, one of the best senators we have in the state. He is just an incredible military guy. He was rising fast in the ranks. He went through some of the Ranger training, has Ranger tab, and the things that go with that. He’s an incredibly tough guy. The story of what God did for him, in him, and through him that day is just an unbelievable testimony.
Stay with us folks, Colonel Brian Birdwell our special guest on WallBuilders Live.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton with another moment from American history. As the American War for Independence began, the president of Yale was the Reverend Naphtali Daggett. When New Haven, the home of Yale, came under attack about a hundred citizens rushed out to meet the British.
The Reverend Daggett galloped by them on horseback, his clearable robes flowing behind him in the wind. He took up a solitary position atop a hill. The 2,500 British soon put the townsfolk to flight but the Reverend Daggett continued to stand alone firing down on the advancing troops.
A British officer confronted him, “What are you doing there you old fool? If I let you go, will you ever fire again on the troops of his majesty?” Nothing more likely was the preacher’s reply. America’s early pastors personally confronted danger and courageously led their communities.
For more information on Pastor Daggett and other colonial Patriots, go to WallBuilders.com.
The Nature Of This Cultural Battle
Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Our good friend Colonel Brian Birdwell state senator in Texas now with us. Brian, always good to have you, bro!
It is my treat to join you again, Rick!
This was a great day to have you on because I still think back to when you came out to D.C. and met the family for one of our episodes of Chasing American Legends and walked us over to the Pentagon memorial there at Arlington Cemetery.
It was the first time it hit me that Rhett, my youngest, wasn’t even born when 9/11 happened. We’ve got a whole generation out there that has no idea what you went through personally, what the nation went through, and why we’re still going through this, and have to pay attention.
We just wanted to have you on and use September 11th as a day to educate us, to remind us of what happened, and to honor those that fell that day, and those that suffered like yourself. But then also say, “Ok, what do we do to prevent this from happening again? What should our focus be now that we are 16 years later.”
Sixteen, yeah.Well, you make a great point. I hadn’t even thought about it. But in my time as a state senator, and I’ve been in public schools visiting with- now you’re talking about folks that are in high school, sophomores, juniors maybe, in high school that were not born.
You’re talking about those that have just graduated from high school that were born but maybe were a year, two, three years of age with no memory of September 11th. So you’ve got folks that are entering college that’s for them, September 11th is a history book event.
It’s kind of like those of us, of our age, when I was born Pearl Harbor was 20 years before that. But my parents taught me about it. Now we’re at that time of life for these folks, either their parents are going to teach them about it, or folks like you and I on this radio program will teach them about it, the events that unfolded that day, making sure that the lessons of that day are not lost.
One of those great lessons is kind of like what we’re seeing in the last couple of weeks with Hurricane Harvey, how the American people and the people of Texas have come together in that disaster. Though not man made, not by the malfeasance and maliciousness of the people that attacked us on September 11th. You’re seeing the greatness of the American character. All too often our media concentrates on what’s abnormal or the denigration of our society.
That’s such a great point. I hadn’t put my finger on that, because that’s the feeling that I got. I hadn’t even identified it but you just did. And in watching, and even being down there in some of that. I mean, seeing so many people of different backgrounds coming together and they’re not saying- It doesn’t matter if you’re red, white, yellow, black, or brown, it doesn’t matter what denomination or religion. Everybody is just coming together and helping, neighbor helping neighbor. And that’s exactly what it felt like after right after 9/11.
Yeah. The one difference is the heaviness of heart that I know that President Bush dealt with when he came to the hospital and visited the *, myself, and recognizing that he was about to have to make decisions that were going to put other Americans in the same circumstance that I was in.
Seriously, critically injured. But recognizing that we faced a culture and we continue to face a culture of death in radical Islamic terrorism that sees us and our freedoms and us as a society as an enemy of their worldview.
Yeah. And your point is very, very, well taken. Whereas with, for instance, a natural tragedy like like Harvey you’re going, “Ok, the damage is done, now it’s the clean up.” Whereas what Bush faced, and what you dealt with at the time, was, “Hey, this is just the beginning.”
And not even just the beginning, as you point out in your presentations, they’ve been at war with us for decades before 9/11. We were finally waking up and saying, “It’s time to fight back.”
Very much so. The government’s duty is to bear the sword against those who would do evil. Crashing planes into buildings, or what we’ve seen happen in Europe over the last three to four years, that’s evil.
When people are driving trucks into crowds, blowing up concerts, I mean, the war on terror came to us at the Pentagon on September 11 and of course the World Trade Centers and the symbology of those respective buildings to our nation.
But you had just several months back a concert that the suicide bomber or a homicide bomber decided to blow himself up and kill a number of people. So the war on terror is coming to a concert near you. That’s the nature of the people that we face in this in this cultural battle.
There Are People Laying Down Their Lives For Us Right Now
It seems like, I mean, it’s so easy for us to be disconnected from where the action is and where we recognize the danger to be. I was I was amazed at * speech that went viral the other day and just how he was talking to these guys that are boots on the ground in the fight.
He was saying, “We know people back home-” who are, you know, we’re basically asleep and not paying attention to what’s going on. And Colonel, I think that’s so true. We get caught up in our daily lives and we don’t realize this fight is even happening.
Yet, we’ve got good men and women all over the planet fighting this battle for us. How can we do a better job of paying attention to this and realizing this fight is going on. And there are people laying down their lives for us right now?
Yeah, you make a great point. Secretary * speech was was dead on target. There is still a very strong remnant of folks in this country that believe what we believe. The goodness of our nation, the evil of our enemy, and the like.
When- particularly, when it comes to the act of war, it is an exhausting endeavor. I don’t want to say the word, “endeavor” lightly here. It has been 16 years since September 11th. The emotional tank of a nation has been drained in that 16 years.
The rigor, the passion, and the emotion of the day after has been consumed. I think President Trump, in trying to do not only his reset for Afghanistan from his speech a couple of weeks ago- Because look, there are serious challenges with that nation. But also the reset that he’s trying to do with much of our immigration policy.
We have two discussions on immigration right now that are going on. One is to just let anybody in as long as we vet them. And remember, an immigration system is not designed to see who can win the lottery to get here. Our immigration system is designed to protect the interests of the American people, their financial interests, their security interests, and their cultural interests.
Yet, we see the judicial branch trying to run roughshod over what clearly belongs to the Congress. Article 1 Section 8 gives to the Congress the authority to declare war and bringing a nation to that that precipice, which we’re already in.
Two, immigration, a system for naturalization belongs to the Congress and not the courts. So part of what you’re seeing, Rick, is not just the battle between the right and wrong of the evil that we face, Liberty versus tyranny, but you see the battle of, “Which branch of government is going to be dominant and what philosophy of governance will be dominant within that branch?”
You’ve got a judicial branch right now that is saying that the Constitution doesn’t really matter. There are seven different statutes that give the president the authority to make those determinations as to where immigrants may come from, and how Congress can do that as well, and decide what kind of numeration we’ll have with the number of refugees or others that will come into this country. You look at what’s happening in Europe, that’s coming our way if the judicial branch gets its wish.
There Is No Amount Of Vetting That Can Detect Evil In The Heart
You raised so many good points right there. Let me back up first to your point about even looking at immigration, that policy is not just about, like you said, who wins the lottery and gets to come here. We have to look at it as a nation.
The Immigration policy has to be in the context of defense policy. Right now, most of the debate that you hear on immigration policy, certainly from the left, wants to just have complete open borders and open doors. It is void of that discussion on defense.
Whereas it seems to me, and you tell me, it looks like President Trump has tried to approach this first from a security issue and then, if it’s a secure policy, then we consider what is a good immigration policy for the economy of the United States and also for helping those in need around the country. But first it’s the security issues. Is that the right approach?
Absolutely, because look, the first customer of the federal government is the citizens of the United States not people in other countries, that’s who their first customer is. When we talk about security, one of the things that I very much appreciate that’s certainly not lost on me, and certainly I know not you and David either- When people tell us, “We’ve got folks that come to the country whether it’s illegally or legally and these are just people looking for a better life.”
I wear the scars on my body of people that came with a malicious evil intent. So while we don’t paint every immigrant with the brush that says, “They’re all evil.” There is a lawful way to do that, and oh by the way, the federal government gets to set what those parameters are going to be.
Because there is no doubt in my mind that what you’re seeing happening in Europe, what we saw on September 11th, I mean, I wear those scars and not a one of those 19 people, 18 of them came to the country legally and overstayed their visa illegally.
Yet, there’s a lot of people that wear the scars that I do. And there’s a lot more people that lost their lives because a magnetometer can detect at the airport metal but it cannot detect evil in the heart. And there’s no amount of vetting that will detect evil in the heart.
That’s why our federal government’s first responsibility is to protect us.
How Congress Is Dealing With War On RAdical Islamic Terrorism
That’s so good, man. It’s so timely right now. It’s interesting that so many of these immigration debates are happening right now right around 9/11. To have 9/11 in context with these immigration debates, I hadn’t even thought about that when we set up the interview.
We just ignored that for too long and common has been thrown out the window with this. Look, you and I have had conversations off the air. We care very much about helping people in need and there’s no question that that’s a proper role at times for us as a nation.
But to let that literally overrule basic common sense and what we’ve seen happen, like you said, even the scars that you live with now because of bad decisions that we made in the in the past. We’ve got to be smart about this.
Before I let you go, how do you think- because the other point you raised, that is so poignant on this, is the the balance of powers and who has the correct jurisdiction and authority on this? With some of the things that President Trump is trying to do on this, with Congress being chiefly responsible for immigration policy, and our national defense, how do you think Congress is approaching the continued war on radical Islamic terrorism?
I don’t think they are. I cannot sit here and tell you that I think they’re doing a very good job of looking at it in that context, of immigration and national security being inextricably linked. I don’t think they look at it from the perspective.
Maybe I’m painting too broad of brush, certainly there’s there’s very good individual members of Congress. But corporately, as an entire legislative body, I think they’re all too willing to defer to the courts. There has been too long a cultural impetus that says, “The Supreme Court is the final arbiter.”
No, the Supreme Court is the Supreme Court. It’s not the supreme branch of government. Yet, we’ve got too many members of Congress that look at the court with almost a god like status that says, “Whatever they say goes.” Is it the consent of the governed or the consent of the appointed? And right now the Congress takes the consent of the appointed in my view.
Yeah, they have. They just caved in and and given that over. You and I have said this many times of course David and Tim as well, it starts with we as citizens getting educated on who has the proper authority and the proper jurisdiction. Then we need to be calling those-
Article 3 section 2, the Congress gets to set the jurisdiction of the courts.
Yeah, no doubt about it. Man, I wish we had more time! Every time I have you on, Colonel, there’s not enough time. I think we should just alert of our stations that we’re going for three hours today instead of 30 minutes and we might be able to actually cover these topics a little better.
State Senator, Colonel Brian Birdwell, we appreciate you brother, we appreciate you so much, and appreciate your sacrifice for our country. As I’ve told you before, man, your continued sacrifice. You and Mel give so much of your time and energy and efforts to serve our state and our nation on an ongoing basis. We just love you and appreciate you, man.
Well, thank you! And thank you for having me and letting us spend a little bit of time reminding folks of the greatness of this nation and that there’s still a lot of us out there that still believe her to be great and to want to keep her that way.
And remembering the sacrifice of those that died that day and those that are still sacrificing, because everybody that’s missing an arm or a leg from that action they may have paid their price for September 11th years later but their injuries no less revolve around that day, there are so many lives affected by that day and many days and years afterwards.
Amen. Absolutely. Colonel, thank you so much for being with us. Stay with us, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hi, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders and I want to encourage all the pastors out there with a unique opportunity that we’re presenting it WallBuilders. We’re doing a special tour just for pastors that you can come and learn more about the spiritual heritage of our nation. Not just seeing the sights but understanding the significance of what they are and what they represent.
We get to go to the Capitol at night. And we get to see the spiritual heritage of our Founding Fathers, of who we are as a nation, where we came from. We bring in congressman that will tell you about current legislation, about our religious liberties and freedom, and what’s going on in Washington, D.C.
If you’re a pastor or if you want to recommend your pastor for this trip, you can go to our website at www.WallBuilders.com. And there’s a link that’s for scheduling. If you click on that link there’s a section for pastor’s briefing. There’s more information about the dates, when it’s going, and how it’s going to happen. If you want to know more about our nation, our religious liberties, our freedom, our spiritual heritage, this is a trip you want to be a part of.
Colonel Birdwell’s Incredible Story And Testimony
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us today! Special thanks to Colonel Brian Birdwell for joining us on the program today. Always an honor to have him. We’ve got two special links for you today at the website. If you go to WallBuildersLive.com for today’s program one is going to be a link to Brian’s full story and it’s on I Am Second and you get to hear the full story and it’s very powerful.
The second one is a link to the Chasing American Legends episode that he was actually in where he actually took us to the memorial and told the story there at Arlington Cemetery.
We’re going to make that link free so you can go watch the episode for free over the next week or so. So both of those links are available, be sure and check those out today at WallBuildersLive.com.
David and Tim now. Guys, always good to have Colonel Birdwell on, of course today being 9/11, very special day to have him on. But he made a lot of great points about what to do now and whose responsibility it is to do those things. He always comes back to the constitutional governance, I love it.
Rick, let me point out too, as you mentioned those two links that people can go see, certainly I would encourage every listener to go see those two videos. The reason is, as you hear him talk about the constitutional perspective, and the limitations, and the jurisdictions, and he really knows the Constitution.
What’s so fun about hearing him talk so much about the Constitution is his back story. Knowing how God just incredibly protected him in the midst of all of what happened, knowing his testimony, and the back story, to now see where he has come. I mean- he was never thinking he was going to be a state senator, he was never a constitution guy in this regard, because he was a soldier, he was a warrior.
But how God has now shifted him to where this is a guy explaining the Constitution, understanding jurisdictions, and separation of powers, and whose responsibility. He understands so well, explains it so well, but to see where he’s come from is quite amazing. So I certainly would recommend people watch his two videos to get perspective on it.
I tell you, his story, there’s funny parts and there is other parts. We became friends, I’ve always believed that humor helps a lot in a lot of stuff. Well, he has a heavy load. Every one of his coworkers was burned to death in the office right there in front of him. It’s just tough stuff.
We still kid about all sorts of things. But the the medical treatment he went through, literally, part of the treatment- what you have to watch for in burn victims is the infection that gets started within the burns. What they did to stop that infection was they literally covered his arms, they are burned, has no flesh left on his arm. They covered that flesh with plastic bags and put maggots in it. Because maggots don’t eat live flesh they eat dead flesh.
So, he has these pictures of maggots just up and down his arm. But they were eating the dead flesh which kept infection from getting started which would have killed him. And so you think, “My gosh, with all the medical technology we have- what he went through, and what God has done for him.”
This is a guy who has backbone. His faith in Christ is really strong. When he got hit by the plane he said, “Jesus, I’m coming to see you.” And ended up that he didn’t die, he thought he would, so, “Well, God must have something else for him to do.” Now he’s a terrific senator here in Texas.
This is just a quality in so many ways who is now able to laugh at life and doesn’t have the bitterness. I mean, he’s just is a good guy in so many ways. It’s a great story to see. Check both of those links out on the website, you really be blessed by the story of Colonel Birdwell in detail.
Folks, share their stories with especially your students and children of those who were born after 9/11 let them know how important this day is and how much there is to learn. It really struck me when he talked about the comparison to you know 20 years after Pearl Harbor, man, we’re kind of there on this issue of 9/11. So check those links out today. Thanks for listening today. We appreciate Colonel Birdwell being with us and we appreciate you listening to WallBuilders Live!