Actually, to her surprise, they climbed aboard a starship and headed for the skiesIn what is either an inspring story of God’s love for us all or maybe evidence that first responders deserve far better treatment for PTSD, very serious news site WND brings us the account of one Lillie Leonardi, who was the community affairs coordinator for the FBI’s Pittsburgh office when she was sent to the United Airlines Flight 93 crash site on Sept. 11, 2001. In a recently self-published memoir, In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir, Ms. Leonardi reveals that when she arrived at the site outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, she saw angels appearing all around the perimeter of the crash site:

“All of a sudden, I kept seeing this flicker of light. You saw all these angels manifest. One in particular, in front, that I knew, it was Michael. He knew I was there to do something. I just didn’t know what it was at that moment. He’s the conduit to God as far as I’m concerned. I’m then the conduit for other people to listen to what has to be said. And then it’s their choice to decide what to do.”

And what were these angels, including Michael, actually doing at the crash site? Leonardi doesn’t quite explain this, but she is very certain that they were there for a reason that is beyond our ability to comprehend. Now, as we know from sophisticated theological treatises like that one German movie with Peter Falk, angels can’t actually stop planes from crashing or even give 19 terrorists a case of explosive diarrhea that would keep them from flying, so don’t you start asking rude questions about the decided lack of divine intervention on 9/11, you dirty heathens. Besides, God did so intervene, leaving an inspiring cross-shaped piece of wreckage in the rubble of the World Trade Center, so there. Only God can cause two metal beams to meet at right angles, and to say otherwise would just be crazy talk.

Even worse would be to suggest that, in the wake of an unimaginably horrific experience that would eventually leave her so deeply affected by PTSD that she had to take early retirement, a person might simply grasp at any explanation that offers a sense of meaning in an inherently meaningless tragedy. This awful thing couldn’t have just happened, could it? Without any deeper significance than proving that a group of religiously motivated political fanatics (or were they politically motivated religious fanatics? We forget) can use modern technology to cause massive death and destruction, one might almost start thinking that there is no benign order in the universe, and precious little benign human agency at that. If believing they saw angels at a crash site helps someone get through what they experienced, it’s a lot better than substance abuse, becoming a 9/11 truther, or starting a couple of wars in the Middle East.

We’re not even sure we can be too snarkful about Leonardi’s trying to make a buck off her hallucinations by selling her book — after all, it’s not like public employees suffering from the fallout of 9/11 got a lot of love from Congress. OK, maybe that’s too strong. First responders got plenty of love. Just criminally limited care for their physical and mental health. As legitimate news site The Blaze notes, there’s an important message here:

Now, Leonardi is looking for some healing. By sharing her story, she‘s hoping that’s what she’ll be able to find, while also driving home the fact that she wants readers to know that, despite the pain and devastation, God was present on 9/11.

Again, like those angels, not especially doing anything, but, you know, definitely present. Which for some reason reminds us of this fine song by Mr. Randy Newman:

(When we used to teach First-Year College Writing, sometimes we’d play that and then ask the students what they thought of its sweet sentiments…and then follow it up with Newman’s “God’s Song” to introduce the concept of the Unreliable Narrator.) And now we write for your Wonkette. Sad face.

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  • I see angels whenever I get the Victoria Secrets catalog!

    • Mittens Howell, III

      Touched by an angel?

    • Omophagist

      I see dead people…fapping.

  • Barb

    On the flight with the "underwear bomber" did they see the Victoria's Secret angels?

  • prommie

    This is complete bullshit, unlike the former CIA agent who says it was aliens at Roswell.

    • Mittens Howell, III

      I also have doubts about the security guard who saw Chris Christie at a Weight Watchers meeting.

  • Pragmatist2


    What a lucky coincidence for her!
    But, really, she should have seen Jesus. Much bigger the the Box Office.

    • Jesus wanted points off the front end

    • Terry

      Also happens to be looking to give talks at fundy Churches for hefty checks.

    • MacRaith

      Nah, it's Virgin Mary sightings that really bring in the big bucks. Trust me on this, I'm an ex-Catholic.

  • arihaya

    did she remember to pay Guilliani a royalty?

    • James Michael Curley

      Guiliani saw several angels on 9/11. Then set them up in their own apartments in Bayshore, Astoria and Staten Island.

  • Mittens Howell, III

    Someone's also the conduit for me throwing up on my keyboard.

  • Hera Sent Me

    I saw angels at one of the 9/11 crash sites, too. Hundreds of them, in fact.

    They were easy to spot because they all were wearing big hats that had "FDNY" on them.

  • One in particular, in front, that I knew, it was Michael.

    What did he smell like? Cookies? Cotton Candy?

    If he didn't smell like konditori you may have been having a hallucination

    • thatsitfortheother1

      Hard to sense that sugary smell through 200,000 lbs of jet fuel.

      Maybe not for her…

  • Estproph

    "Again, like those angels, not especially doing anything, but, you know, definitely present."

    so they were just standing around, watching the investigators work? Were they union?

    • GunToting[Redacted]

      They were watching the detectives.

      • viennawoods13

        Ah. Now my earworm for the day. Good choice.

    • MacRaith

      Ooh, commie socialist liberal union thug angels! There's got to be a screenplay in that. Or at least an SNL sketch.

    • CindynEncinitas


  • Goonemeritus

    I find meaning in the meaningless by drinking, it doesn’t always work but I rarely regret trying.

    • One should never regret drinking.

      One should only regret sobering up.

    • Vecchiojohn

      I like to drink until I see angels.

    • eggsacklywright

      At least it provides some temporary enthusiasm, which is otherwise elusive.

  • ChernobylSoup

    It was just Gabriel playing hide and seek with the Seraphim.

  • Angels in Pennsylvania, satan in NYC…what to make of all this…

  • MrFizzy

    I see flashing lights too – on my bullshit detector.

  • SoBeach

    Well, Jerry Falwell said:

    I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way–all of them who have tried to secularize America–I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."

    So obviously God was punishing us.

    Maybe the angels hanging around the Flight 93 crash site were there to make sure no feminists, gays, or liberals survived.

    • Or just to laugh at us.

  • Allmighty_Manos

    "One in particular, in front, that I knew, it was Michael."

    One of the firemen looked like Michael Landon, which is where this angel stuff comes from.

  • Chick-Fil-Atheist™

    All of a sudden, I kept seeing this flicker of light. You saw all these angels manifest. One in particular, in front, that I knew, it was Michael.

    Thanks for your help, asshole. Oh, what? "Division of labor," you say? "That's another angel's job", you say? Fuck right off… how fucking hard was it to keep the plane in the sky, you winged freakazoid?

  • Woodshedding

    Yeah, we humans are the only sentient beings in the entire universe which is full of countless galaxies which are full of countless stars and planets. It says so in the Bible.

  • Angels are the last thing you want to see–actually they may be the last thing you will ever see since they are mean mofos with flaming swords and a really bad attitude.

  • I'm sure the Crystal Meth had nothing to do with this.

    • Chick-Fil-Atheist™

      She's not eating someone's face off. She's selling a book.

  • widestanceromance

    Were these angels wearing flag pins?

  • Lillie Leonardi's Big Book of Hallucinations.

  • scorpy1

    Was she referring to Michael Landon?

  • not that Radio

    So, Leonardi is a self-obsessed harpy?

    • So sayz Bony Mehrohni, the quintessential harpy herself?

  • GorzoTheMighty

    Maybe next time the angels could show up before the plane crashed. To give a little help. But what do I know. Just a suggestion Michael.

    • Vecchiojohn

      Don't blame the angels; it's job of the Invisible Hand to intervene in such matters.

      • eggsacklywright

        I had a hand job from an angel that one time.

  • Vecchiojohn

    It's reassuring to know that such level-headed people are staffing America's secret police force.

    • CindynEncinitas

      She spoke to the populace on their behalf. She was the voice of the valiant FBI and I'm sure the agents in the field were all totally down with her narrative.

  • Chick-Fil-Atheist™

    Also, I just now saw the miracle cross website. Oh my fucking god.

    "I do not like your Christians. They are opportunist assholes." –Gandhi

  • EatsBabyDingos

    If the plane crashed in Wonkville, would she be surprised at the gathering of flatulent stoner drunks?

    • Terry

      I am NOT a stoner!

      • CindynEncinitas

        Are too!

  • Madfall

    You let crazy people join the FBI? Truly, America is the land of opportunity!

  • Baconzgood

    We're not all bone heads in Pittsburgh. Some of are snarky and quite fetching.

  • SorosBot

    I see Angels all the time, along with Jesus. I live in a neighborhood with a large Mexican population.

    • Why did Republicans killed Jesus? Cause he tried to cross the border.

    • CindynEncinitas

      I actually heard a person at the beach calling to her dog, whose name was Jesus.

  • sharethegrief

    Across the world, angels know how to fly, except over Pennsylvania.

  • JustPixelz

    The FBI can see angels, but no one took them seriously when they said there were a few too many suspicious characters taking flight lessons. Shame on you Dubya for not paying attention.

  • Mittens Howell, III

    I love that Randy Newman song! especially the bit about God's car that goes beep beep beep!

  • CrunchyKnee

    Wow, this kind of insanity is actually rewarded and normal in our country. We get what we deserve.

    Why didn't god just stop the terrorists in the first place? What a dick.

  • eggsacklywright

    Mebbe they were drone angels.

  • freddymcmurray

    Angel Dust.

  • unclejeems

    It always seemed odd to me that an ancient semitic volcano deity like Jehovah, who must have created a dark haired, swarthy people in his image, surrounded himself with pasty-white, blonde angels who look like they stepped out of a cottage in northern Germany. Just a little funny, I'm sayin.

    • thatsitfortheother1

      Borkum libel!

    • LionHeartSoyDog

      Auntie Semite libel!!!

  • Terry

    "One in particular, in front, that I knew, it was Michael. He knew I was there to do something."

    The Archangel Michael wanted her to fill out really, really good reports and to file them appropriately.

    • Vecchiojohn

      In my day, when suspicious characters were seen hanging around terror attacks scenes, J. Edgar Hoover opened a secret file on them.

  • AddHomonym

    When she initially arrived at the crash site, she told the Associated Press that “the biggest thing for me is that that there were no bodies.”

    Oh boy. That won't help.

    • Didn't you know? There were no bodies because they crashed an empty plane!

      I always ask 9/11 truthers who insist that the planes were empty (or at the Pentagon, not a plane at all, but an Exocet missile or something) what happened to those people–did they never exist, or did the CIA hide them in The Village or LOST Island or what? They usually tell me I am closed-minded.

  • StealthMuslin

    That was the angel Michael LANDON and he was there to take all those folks on the Highway to Heaven. Duh! (Read your scripture, hippies…)

  • Guppy

    Angels look like a detached retina?

  • Now fixed, so that Randy Newman is actually in there.

  • fawkedifiknow

    Somehow "Michael rode Flight 93 to Shanksville" doesn't have the same poetry as "Michael rode the boat ashore" but god works in mysterious ways, sometimes, as the saying goes.

  • SorosBot

    The Angels are stupid. I mean, really; Los Angeles Angels Angels of Anaheim has got to be one of the dumbest, most convoluted names in all of sports. Pick a city, just one city, and stick with it. And anyway, nobody gives a fuck about Anaheim, or would even have heard of it otherwise, teams that play in the burbs normally still name themselves after the actual city they're near; I mean the Giants don't call themselves the New York Giants of Shitstink, New Jersey, do they?

    • CindynEncinitas

      Well, where's the lake in L.A.? MacArthur Park? Puddingstone? The O.C. really needs those L.A. fans to fill up the stadium. Everyone in O.C. is too busy/ADD to sit in a ballpark all day.

  • Someone has been watching waaaaay too many "Supernatural" reruns.

    Did one of them look like Misha Collins?

  • pdiddycornchips

    Okay, she saw the Angel Michael but did notice Allah hiding in the tall pines beyond the clearing?

  • dennis1943

    Can you say "section 8"……?

  • Barrelhse

    Yes, Lillie, you're a conduit.

  • didgen

    Just when you start to feel like you're a little bit cynical about people's faith, along comes someone new to make a buck off of the religiously gullible.

  • SayItWithWookies

    "He knew I was there to do something. I just didn’t know what it was at that moment."

    Maybe you were there to do your job, lady. Just a wild guess here.

    And oh how happy I am to find that the angel craze from the 1990s is finally making a comeback — where the fuck would we be as a society if we didn't feel like we were on center stage of some spiritual amphitheater with hordes of prying, preening, baby-soft, louse-infested conduits of the fucking LORD guiding our every fucking activity.

  • DahBoner

    If I had a dollar for every crack ho with platinum blonde hair named 'Angel'….

  • comrad_darkness

    Angels in the Architecture \ spinning in infinity \ she said, "hey, I'm a nutcase"

  • mavenmaven

    Perhaps they were mala'ikah, Islamic angels celebrating victory over the infidels? Which makes a lot more sense than Christian angels simply rubber-necking.

  • chascates

    I liked how she said the angels were lined up in perfect rows, just like in a Doctor Who show on weird shit.

  • mindo99

    The other song Randy Newman wrote specifically as a counterpoint to 'He Gives Us All His Love' was 'That's Why I Love Mankind,' a scathing list of God's delight in our devotion to him in light of human suffering.

    • (ahem… see the link in the last paragraph)

  • Kid_Charlemagne

    Lillie sure picked the wrong week to stop huffing paint!

  • barto

    "I kept seeing this flicker of light"

    Sounds like they were on a smoke break.

  • Isyaignert

    Is this like finding the face of Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich that you can sell on ebay?

  • madmonq

    Can't say the thought is comforting. What? Angels showed up after the fact to stand around & make jokes about the crime scene Law & Order style? Were there donuts?

    Most likely what they were doing was clean up. God hates remainers. That sounds like the more like the bloodthirst Christian God she's no doubt referring to. Amazing the disconnect we're capable of whilst standing ankle deep in carnage.

  • if all these supernatural beings just sit around watching shit happen, maybe we should take away their licenses or something.

  • When we used to teach First-Year College Writing… And now we write for your Wonkette.

    doc, we expect no lesser credentials at the wonkettes.

  • elgin_pelican

    Wait – I though Scientologists were the only ones that could help at an accident. Tom, late of TomKat, told us that.

  • fishwharf

    How many former FBI agents can fit on the head of a pin, or is that classified?

  • BZ1

    Michael? Jackson?

  • ttommyunger

    So, she's retired; that means she no longer packs heat, right? Right?

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