Remembering Louis Nacke, United Flight 93

On 9/11, we were attacked by a group of cowardly, Muslim terrorists. Most were from Saudi Arabia, though you don’t really hear that much any more. As Americans, we will not- we cannot – forget those who were lost on that day. Two thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six lives were forfeit to some radicalized ideology of which we knew nothing about. I was honored to be able to participate in this most endearing day of remembrance.

Louis was aboard United Flight 93, which went down in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It went down there, and not it’s potential target (Washington, DC) because men like him tried to take back the aircraft. I would like to introduce you to a man of great strength and character, who most of us will never know, but none of us will ever forget. Rest in peace, Lou. We have the watch.

Even as a boy, Lou Nacke had a need to know. He’d ferret out each year’s Christmas gifts, unwrapping them to see what was in store, rewrapping them and then informing his three siblings so they could ask their parents for substitutions before Christmas.

He also had a need to be the typical big brother, swerving the family snowmobile to throw his siblings off and helping his sister see how long she could hold her breath by holding her head under water. He also gave her a pair of diamond earrings.

As an adult, Nacke was 5 feet 9 inches and 195 pounds, with a weightlifter’s gait and an endearing charm. He knew a little bit about everything and wasn’t shy about letting people know.

Nacke graduated from a Philadelphia high school in 1977, after attending several different schools while his family moved from Virginia to Scranton to Monroeville to Olean, N.Y. and finally to Philadelphia for his father’s job with A&P.

While living in Monroeville, Nacke ran through a glass door and required 100 stitches. Years later, remembering that incident, he got a Superman tattoo on his left shoulder.

His years in Western Pennsylvania made him a loyal Pittsburgh sports fan, revering the local teams so much that when he bought memorabilia, such as a Roberto Clemente jersey, he would frame it.

He worked a series of shipping and receiving jobs with various chains. While at Kmart as an assistant manager, he met his wife, Amy, who was doing temp work at the store.

In 1997, Nacke was hired at Kay-Bee Toys, supervising 400 employees at an 800,000-square-foot distribution center in Clinton, N.J. He commuted an hour to work each way so that his wife could live close to her family.

In fact, since their wedding on Sept. 16, 2000, the couple had lived with her parents while building their own home nearby.

Nacke and Robert Weisberg, his father-in-law, were also good friends, smoking cigars together and enjoying wines Nacke bought over the Internet.

On Sept. 16, Amy celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary with her family at Nacke’s favorite restaurant. They toasted him with a California Cabernet he’d bought.

“We said, ‘We’re going to miss you like hell and you’re probably mad as hell that we opened this wine,’ ” Weisberg said.

Distribution manager, Kay-Bee Toys, 42, New Hope, Bucks County
Wife, Amy; sons, Joseph Nicholas, 18, Louis Paul II, 14
He was on his way to Sacramento for business

Investigators give special credit to five passengers: Todd Beamer, 32, Mark Bingham, 31, Tom Burnett, 38, Jeremy Glick, 31, and Lou Nacke, 42. “Those passengers on this jet were absolute heroes, and their actions during this flight were heroic,” declared FBI Director Robert Mueller during a visit to the crash scene.

The revolution is at hand. Will you be a leader or a follower?

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