Mark Bingham

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Mark Bingham
Mark Bingham1.jpg
Born Mark Kendall Bingham
May 22, 1970 (1970-05-22)
Phoenix, Arizona
Died September 11, 2001(2001-09-11) (aged 31)
Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania
Cause of death
Plane crash
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Home town Los Gatos, California
Height 6 ft 4 in (190 cm)
Weight 225 pounds (102 kg)

Mark Kendall Bingham (May 22, 1970 – September 11, 2001) was an American public relations executive who founded his own company, the Bingham Group. During the September 11 attacks in 2001 he was a passenger on board United Airlines Flight 93. Bingham is believed to have been one of the passengers who, along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, formed the plan to overtake the plane from the hijackers, and led the effort that resulted in the crash of the plane into a field near Shanksville, and all of the passengers' deaths.[1]

Both for his heroic actions on United 93, as well as his athletic physique and masculine lifestyle, Bingham has been widely honored posthumously for having "smashed the gay stereotype mold and really opened the door to many others that came after him."[2]

Early life[edit]

Mark Bingham was born in 1970, the only child of single mother Alice Hoagland. He grew up in Miami, Florida and Southern California before moving to the San Jose area in 1983. Bingham was an aspiring filmmaker growing up, and began using a video camera as a teenager as a personal diary through which he expressed himself and documented his life and the lives of those of his family and friends. He accumulated hundreds of hours of video documenting the final decade and a half of his life. He graduated from Los Gatos High School as a two-year captain of his rugby team in 1988. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, Bingham played on two of Coach Jack Clark's national-championship-winning rugby teams in the early 1990s. He also joined the Chi Psi fraternity, eventually becoming its president. Upon graduation at the age of twenty-one, Bingham came out as gay to his family and friends.[3][4]

Rugby and business career[edit]

A large athlete at 6 ft 4 in (190 cm) and 225 pounds (102 kg), Bingham also played for the gay-inclusive rugby union team San Francisco Fog RFC.[5] Bingham played No. 8 in their first two friendly matches. He played in their first tournament, and taught his teammates his favorite rugby songs.[6]

Bingham had recently opened a satellite office of his public relations firm in New York City, and was spending more time on the East Coast, and discussed plans with his friend Scott Glaessgen about forming a New York City rugby team, Gotham Knights.[7][8]

On September 11, 2001[edit]

On the morning of September 11, Bingham overslept and nearly missed the flight, on his way to San Francisco to be an usher in his fraternity brother Joseph Salama’s wedding.[9] He arrived at the Terminal A at 7:40am, ran to Gate 17, and was the last passenger to board, taking seat 4D, next to passenger Tom Burnett. During the hijacking, he phoned his mother, reporting that his plane had been hijacked and relaying his love for her.[10][11]

Bingham was survived by his parents, stepmother[11] and his boyfriend of six years, Paul Holm, who said that Bingham had risked his life to protect the lives of others before 9/11.[12][13] He had twice successfully protected Holm from attempted muggings, one at gunpoint. Holm described Bingham as a brave, competitive man, saying, "He hated to lose — at anything." He was known to proudly display a scar he received after being gored at the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.[13]


Bingham’s name is located on Panel S-67 of the National September 11 Memorial's South Pool, along with those of other passengers of Flight 93.
  • U.S. Senators John McCain and Barbara Boxer honored Bingham on September 17, 2001, in a ceremony for San Francisco Bay Area victims of the attacks, presenting a folded American flag to Paul Holm.[14]
  • The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament (referred to as the Bingham Cup), a biennial international rugby union competition predominantly for gay and bisexual men, was established in 2002 in his memory.[15]
  • Bingham was posthumously awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2002.[16]
  • The Eureka Valley Recreation Center's Gymnasium in San Francisco was renamed the Mark Bingham Gymnasium in August 2002.[17]
  • Singer Melissa Etheridge dedicated the song "Tuesday Morning" in 2004 to his memory.[18]
  • Beginning in 2005, the Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement has been awarded by the California Alumni Association of the University of California, Berkeley to a young alumnus or alumna at its annual Charter Gala.[19][20][21]
  • At the National 9/11 Memorial, Bingham and other passengers from Flight 93 are memorialized at the South Pool, on Panel S-67, along with other passengers on Flight 93.[22]
  • At the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, Bingham's name is located on one of the 40 8-foot-tall panels of polished, 3-inch thick granite that comprise the Memorial's Wall of Names.[11][23]
  • The 2012 feature-length documentary With You focuses on Bingham and the bond he had with his mother, Alice Hoagland, a former United Airlines flight attendant who, following his death, became a nationally known authority on airline safety and a champion of LGBT rights.[24] Directed by Scott Gracheff, the film relies on the vast amount of video footage Bingham himself shot beginning in his teens until weeks before his death. The film's title is a popular rugby term, and one of Bingham's favorite expressions.[3][25]

In the media[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Unexpected legacy left by hero of Flight 93". Yahoo! News. September 2, 2011.
  2. ^ Thomas, Kevin (June 15, 2011). "Frameline 2011: A Closer Look at the Coming Weekend". San Francisco Examiner.
  3. ^ a b Woolf, Tiffany. "Sneak Preview Screening: Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival". July 2011.
  4. ^ Siek, Julia Prodis (September 11, 2011). "Messages for Flight 93 passenger capture fear, resolve on Sept. 11".San Jose Mercury News
  5. ^ Barrett, Jon (January 22, 2002). "Person of the year: This Is Mark Bingham". The Advocate. Nos. 854-855, ISSN 0001-8996, pp. 41, 42.
  6. ^ Zavos, Spiro (December 23, 2009). "Mark Bingham is rugby union’s iconic gay player". The Roar.
  7. ^ "Mark Bingham". Gotham Knights Rugby Football Club. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  8. ^ Barret, Jon (January 22, 2002). "Person of the year: This Is Mark Bingham".The Advocate. Nos. 854-855, ISSN 0001-8996, page 45.
  9. ^ Cooper, Elise (July 9, 2010). "9/11 Families: No Mosque on Our Sacred Ground". NewsReal Blog.
  10. ^ Vulliamy, Ed (December 1, 2001). "The real story of flight 93'Let's roll...'". The Guardian.
  11. ^ a b c "Brief Biographies: Passengers and Crew of Flight 93". Flight 93 National Memorial. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  12. ^ Barrett, Jon. "Person of the year: This Is Mark Bingham". The Advocate. January 22, 2002, Nos. 854-855, ISSN 0001-8996, page 43-47.
  13. ^ a b Dahir, Mubarak (October 23, 2001). "Our Heroes: Whether It Was By Saving Lives or Simply Living Life to Its Fullest, Gay Men and Lesbians Were Among the Thousands of Americans who, on September 11, Showed Humanity's True Spirit". The Advocate. ISSN 0001-8996, page 42-45.
  14. ^ Broverman, Neal (August 5, 2011). "LGBT Heroes to Remember". The Advocate.
  15. ^ Atkins, Stephen E. (June 2, 2011). The 9/11 Encyclopedia: Second Edition. ABC-CLIO, p. 72. Google Books.
  16. ^ "Flight 93 passengers selected for Ashe Award". Associated Press/ESPN. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  17. ^ "Recreation and Park Commission Minutes". City and County of San Francisco, Recreation and Parks Department. August 15, 2002
  18. ^ "Lucky". Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  19. ^ Wilcox, Barbara (September 10, 2006). "A Mark Bingham history tour". The Advocate.
  20. ^ "Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement by a Young Alumnus/a 2013". California Alumni Association. University of California, Berkeley.
  21. ^ "Mark Bingham Award Recipients". California Alumni Association. University of California, Berkeley.
  22. ^ Mark Bingham. Memorial Guide: National 9/11 Memorial. Retrieved October 28, 2011.
  23. ^ "New Image of Flight 93 National Memorial Unveiled". Flight 93 National Memorial. May 4, 2009
  24. ^ "About the Film". With You. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  25. ^ Gebhart, Betsy (June 18, 2011). "‘With You’ Documentary On Flight 93 Hero, Family Premieres". CBS DC.

Further reading[edit]

  • Barrett, Jon Hero of Flight 93: Mark Bingham, Advocate Books, 2002 isbn=1-55583-780-8
  • "UNITED FLIGHT 93: On Doomed Flight, Passengers Vowed to Perish Fighting" The New York Times. September 13, 2001

External links[edit]

and individually at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site
and the combined memorial at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site