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Deborah Welsh

Deborah Welsh

NEW YORK (AP) -- Deborah Jacobs Welsh loved being a flight attendant. So much so that she hung in to the end with Eastern and Kiwi Airlines.

Then, nearly five years ago, she was hired by United Airlines and based at Newark International Airport.

Patrick Welsh, who lived with Deborah on Manhattan's West Side, knows his wife was terrified when the hijackers commandeered Flight 93. "Like anybody would be,'' he said.

"I know in that horrible takeover, she stepped up. The flag was on the ground and she picked it up and so did the others on the plane,'' he said.

Authorities believe passengers may have attempted to wrest control of the aircraft from the hijackers. Had it not crashed in Pennsylvania, Flight 93 might well have been steered into a Washington landmark, like jetliners that were crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Patrick Welsh said his wife wasn't shy about expressing herself, and would say "what the terrorists thought was a triumphant battle cry from Allah was actually a pathetic whimper of cowardice.''

"She wouldn't want a knee-jerk reaction or vigilantism, and I know she would want that expressed,'' he said.

The couple had spent the evening before the fatal flight at a New York comedy club. "We loved to laugh,'' he said.

And laughter, it seems, will become Deborah Welsh's legacy.

"When she walked into a room, the party started,'' said Coral Mary Southam, a friend from Los Angeles.

He said she'd want people "to get back to going to movies, to buying hot dogs or a CD.''

"But in the big picture, she'd want us to make sure the planes keep going. She loved this industry.''

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