By Elizabeth Hur, KYW-TV
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Four days after the killing of Osama Bin Laden, thousands gathered at Ground Zero – among them, Melodie Homer, the widow of a 9/11 hero pilot.
Homer may have walked way with just one picture with President Barack Obama, but she called the day a once-in-a-lifetime experience she’ll never forget.
“Very surreal,” Homer told KYW-TV. “When President Obama came over to me, I extended my hand and he hugged me.”
LeRoy Homer was the co-pilot on United Flight 93 that crashed on Sept. 11 in Shanksville, Pa. He along with 39 other passengers and crew fought back against the hijackers.
Melodie Homer was one of 66 family members invited to the private meeting with the President by Ground Zero. Homer says she doesn’t know how or why she was picked but she was honored. She says Obama was empathetic and encouraging.
“That we were never forgotten and that he understands that this does not bring loved one back but this will help us to continue to heal,” Homer explained.
“President Obama was very appreciative of my husband, of being on Flight 93, the flight that was intended to be flown to Washington DC area,” she said. “It was nice to hear that from him.”
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In addition, Homer says from this tragedy, a legacy was born. In 2002, Homer started the not for profit The Leroy Homer Foundation at www.leroywhomerjr.org, and so far awarded a dozen scholarships to aspiring pilots. Rewarding yes but she admits all of it — bitter sweet.
“Because you know that you would not be there if you didn’t have this huge loss,” Homer said.