Lillie Leonardi, a former police officer who retired from the FBI, says she saw legions of angels at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 9/11 crash site and a bible on the ground opened to Psalm 23.
She has posted a book about what she saw at the site and how she’s been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder linked to her role in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Leonardi, 56, served as a liaison between law enforcement and the families of the passengers and crew members killed in the United Airlines Flight 93 crash. She arrived on the scene about three hours after the crash.
Although Leonardi’s book, “In the Shadow of a Badge: A Spiritual Memoir,” centers on her vision of angels, she argues her life has been changed more by what she didn’t see that day.
“The biggest thing for me is that that there were no bodies,” she said.
Leonardi remembers the burning pine and jet fuel stinging her nostrils. She said she also remembers a smoldering crater littered with debris too small to associate with the jetliner or 40 passengers and crew on board.
“I’m used to crime scenes but this one blew me out of the water. It just looked like the ground had swallowed up” the plane, Leonardi said.
“That’s when I started seeing like shimmery lights … and it was kind of misty and that’s when I first saw, like, the angels there,” Leonardi said. “And I didn’t say anything to the guys because you can imagine if I would have said, ‘I just saw angels on the crash site,’ they’d have called the office and they’d have said, ‘She lost her mind and tell her to go home.’”
Instead, Leonardi kept it to herself for the better part of two years. As emotional and physical ailments surfaced that she would later learn were post-traumatic stress disorder-related, she began telling a close circle of friends and colleagues what she saw, including Kenneth McCabe, her former supervisor.