Arkansan recalls 9/11 every day

(September 8, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- Months after September eleventh terrorists took the life of her husband, Tom, and 39 others aboard a United Airlines flight, Deena Burnett received what was left of his belongings. In the parcel were a few credit cards, some business cards, and the interior pocket of his portfolio. She says the items smell of smoke and jet fuel. After the attacks, Deena and her children moved back to Arkansas to be near her family. She found a comfortable home in a gated community in west Little Rock. It is quiet and secure. She says being in a new house and a new place has helped. Also having children to love and care for has made her happy and she works hard at following her husband's imperative to "do something." She is a plaintiff in three lawsuits, and is the lead plaintiff in a one (t) trillion lawsuit against Saudi Arabian royal family members and others the suit claims funded the terrorists. She is writing a book she will title "Do Something." Deena also runs the Tom Burnett Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has started bereavement camps for children and is raising money for leadership programs and college scholarships. --- Of the four planes hijacked that day, the only one that did not reach its suspected target was the one that carried Tom Burnett. Flying home to California on a business trip, Burnett was among those credited with leading passengers in a plan to thwart the terrorists. Deena Burnett says her husband had the intelligence and confidence to thwart the terrorists. In the final conversations she had with him by cell phone, he told her "I'm putting a plan together... We're going to do something." She said she heard a passenger ask Tom, "Are you ready to go?" Then she heard Tom say, "Yeah, if you're going with me, get off the phone." Deena says her seven-year-old twins, Halley and Madison, and five-year-old Anna Clare believe their father saved the White House. --- Deena Burnett grew up in Halley in Chicot County, one of the poorest counties in Arkansas. Her life used to be much simpler. She studied broadcast journalism at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, worked briefly as a news reporter for a radio station in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and was working as a flight attendant for Delta Airlines when she met Tom in Atlanta. They fell in love and married in 1992. After she got pregnant with the twins, she stopped working. Two years later she gave birth to their third child. The Burnetts lived in California, where Tom was chief operating officer and senior vice president of a company that specializes in heart pumps. Then came the attacks. Deena Burnett says that, emotionally, it seems the attacks were just a few weeks ago. She says her children know their father isn't coming home and they have some sad times. But the family has rallied around them, and Deena has enlisted the help of teachers, pediatricians, a priest, and a child psychologist. Her mother and father, long divorced and remarried, live near her and her brother and sister also live in Arkansas. She says their lives have become as normal as they could possibly be. --- On the Net: Burnett Foundation: http://www.tomburnettfamilyfoundation.org