Biden attends wreath-laying ceremony at National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

Deena Burnett Bailey, the wife of a Flight 93 victim, speaks with CNN from Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11. She is joined by her daughters. (CNN)

Deena Burnett Bailey, the wife of a Flight 93 victim, said this year’s Sept. 11 anniversary is different for her — not because it’s been 20 years since the attack but because her daughters are all now grown adults.

“Even though that’s a very big milestone, for me, this is the first year all of my girls are educated, out of school and are grown, working, living on their own, living out of state. As a mom who was so incredibly concerned 20 years ago about how I was going to raise these three babies on my own financially, emotionally, mentally, how I was going to do that, this is really the first anniversary in which I have been able to say I did it. I did it,” she told CNN.

“And so to be able to come back to Shanksville, to bring them, to show them where it all happened and to be able to share that experience with my adult daughters … it brought us full circle,” she said.

This is the first time all three of her daughters have gone to the memorial, she said. Her twin daughters were 5 and her younger daughter was 3 when her husband, Tom Burnett, was killed.

“This is really our chance to say we can put closure, kind of an end cap on the past 20 years because I was able to raise the girls the way that Tom and I wanted them raised,” she said.  

On Sept. 11, 2001, they talked to each other at least three times while he was on the plane, she said.

“He started sharing the information I was giving him to the people around him. He just sounded very matter-of-fact, like he was just gathering the information and trying to sort it out,” she said.

“He called again a third time and he told me that he put a plan together to take back the airplane. They were waiting until they were over a rural area to take back the cockpit. He said not to worry,” she said.

“He was a little concerned in the last phone call but he also was very confident, he was very capable. He seemed that he was very, very much in charge of the situation and going to make a difference. I believed him when he said everything would be OK. Then his final words to me were ‘don’t worry, we’re going to do something.’ He hung up the phone, they went up the aisle and into the cockpit,” she said.