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July 26, 2004
His Uncle Would Have Been Proud

Tom Burnett, Jr died on 9/11, fighting to regain control of a jet from lunatic terrorists, and his efforts and that of the heroic passengers on Flight 93 saved the lives of many more Americans. The patriots on 93 made the ultimate sacrifice in order to foil al-Qaeda's plans, even though they were unarmed civilians and didn't even know the nature of the enemy they faced so bravely.

Now, Burnett's nephew is about to pay homage to his uncle by entering public service, right here in the Twin Cities:

A family tragedy means a call to action for one young Minnesota man.

Devin Burnett O'Brien is Tom Burnett Jr.'s nephew. Tom Burnett Jr. grew up in Bloomington and died when United Airlines Flight 93 went down in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11

Nearly three years later, Devin O'Brien is running for the Minnesota Legislature. He says his sense of civic duty has changed since Sept. 11.

The 21-year-old is an English major at St. John's University. Within hours of Gov. Tim Pawlenty nominating Alice Seagren as education commissioner last week, O'Brien entered the race for her House seat.

O'Brien faces three Republican opponents in the September primary -- among them Neil Peterson, a former mayor of Bloomington.

I have no idea what O'Brien's politics are, nor do I live in his district, and so I have no endorsement to make in this race. However, even while American cynicism seems to have triumphed once again over the sense of mission that public service had after 9/11, it's refreshing to find out that this young man will honor his uncle's memory by making a difference to citizens of Minnesota.

Best of luck, Devin. You've made a difference just by showing up. Hopefully, more people will follow your lead and participate in the system that your uncle gave his life to defend, even though he never expected the call.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 26, 2004 5:07 PM

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