To be honest, I chose the name CeeCee Lyles because our family nickname for Snugglebug is "SeeSee." I was initially compelled to write Mrs. Lyles's story simply because of her name, but what I found in my research was the story of a mother, a wife, and a hero.
CeeCee was a 33-year-old resident of Fort Myers, Florida who'd fulfilled a lifelong dream in becoming a flight attendant after years of police work that took her from patrol officer to detective. In her law enforcement work, she was respected for "for her willingness to tackle fleeing criminals." A single mother, CeeCee provided for her two sons by working multiple jobs while still finding time to volunteer for a Christian women's shelter. In 1997, she began a relationship with police dispatcher Lorne Lyles, and the two married in 2000. It was the second marriage for both of them, and Lorne brought his own two sons to the family, making CeeCee and Lorne the proud parents of four.
People described CeeCee as an easygoing woman who loved to talk and enjoyed people. She was thoughtful, kind and caring. How natural that when United Flight 93 was overtaken by hijackers, she'd reach out to her family. CeeCee's cell phone call to her husband reveals her professional training. She is calm, explaining the situation. Still, toward the end, the heart of a wife and mother comes through clearly - her words are tinged with emotion and love.
At 10:03:11, Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after an attempt by passengers and crew to reclaim the plane. It has been presumed that the intended target of the hijacked plane was the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Shortly before the crash, CeeCee called her husband again, telling him that passengers were preparing to force their way into the cockpit.
It is unclear whether the brave passengers and crew were successful in breaching the cockpit, but it has been established that the hijackers knew of their efforts and heard the heroes coming.
I imagine CeeCee Lyles passed on to heaven as she lived - taking care of others, calming and soothing them while remaining vigilant and seeing that an attempt at rescue was made.
Four sons, a loving husband and many co-workers, family members and friends were left behind to miss and remember CeeCee. I hope you'll remember not only this beautiful, brave woman, but her loved ones, as well, in your prayers.
Thank you, CeeCee, for your service and sacrifice. You are not forgotten.
This tribute is part of Project 2,996, a cooperative online effort to keep alive the memories of the 2,996 victims of the 9/11/01 tragedy. See other participants, and their tributes to those lost, here.
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