Todd Beamer

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Todd Beamer
Toddbeamer.jpg
Born Todd Morgan Beamer
November 24, 1968 (1968-11-24)
Flint, Michigan, U.S.
Died September 11, 2001(2001-09-11) (aged 32)
Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Cause of death
Plane crash (September 11 attacks)
Religion Christian and Missionary Alliance

Todd Morgan Beamer (November 24, 1968 – September 11, 2001) was an American software salesman passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93 which was hijacked as part of the September 11 attacks in 2001. He was one of the passengers who tried to reclaim the aircraft from the hijackers, leading them to crash it into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.[1][2]

Biography

Beamer was born November 24, 1968 in Flushing, Michigan to David Beamer, an IBM sales representative, and Peggy Jackson Beamer, a muralist,[3] the middle child of three and only son.[4] Beamer and his two sisters, Melissa and Michele, were raised "with a strong biblical value system and work ethic". The moved relocated to Poughkeepsie, New York, and then to Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago, where David worked at Amdahl, a computer technology company.[3]

Beamer attended Wheaton Christian Grammar School, where he played baseball, basketball, and soccer.[3] He attended Wheaton Academy, a Christian high school, from 1983 to 1985,[5] where he excelled in the same sports.[6] He was elected class vice president in his junior year. After David was promoted to vice president of Amdahl's California headquarters, the family moved, and Beamer spent his senior year at Los Gatos High School, just south of San Jose, California.[3]

Beamer attended Fresno State University, where he majored in physical therapy and played baseball, in the hopes of playing professionally, but injuries he suffered in an automobile accident ended these plans. He returned home to Illinois and transferred to Wheaton College, a coed Christian school, where he met Lisa Brosious, his future wife, during a senior seminar class.[3][6] Their first date was November 2, 1991, a date whose 10-year anniversary they had been planning to celebrate at the time of his death.[6]

He transferred to Wheaton College, where he majored initially in medicine before switching to business. He continued to play baseball and as a senior became captain of the basketball team.[3] He graduated in 1991.[7] He subsequently worked for Wilson Sporting Goods while taking night classes at DePaul University, earning an M.B.A. in June 1993.[3][6]

After graduating Beamer married Brosious on May 14, 1994 in Peekskill, New York, and they moved to Plainsboro, New Jersey, where Beamer began working with Oracle Corporation, selling systems applications and database software as a field marketing representative.[3][6] Within months, Beamer was promoted to account manager.[3]

Beamer and Lisa taught Sunday school at Princeton Alliance Church for six years, and worked in youth ministry.[3][6] Beamer also played on the church softball team. He was a staunch fan of the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Bears.[6] In 2000 the Beamers moved to Cranbury, New Jersey[3][6][8] with their two sons.[8]

Flight 93

An American flag now flies over Gate 17 of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport, departure gate of United 93.

Beamer's work forced him to travel up to four times a month, sometimes for as long as a week. In 2001, he earned a five-day trip to Italy with his wife for being a top sales performer. They returned home on Monday, September 10, at 5 pm (EST). While Beamer could have left that night for a Tuesday business meeting in California, he opted instead to spend time with his family, who was due the following January with their third child. He left home at 6:15 am the next morning, to take an early flight from Newark to San Francisco to meet with representatives of the Sony Corporation at 1:00pm, planning to return on a red-eye flight that night.[3][6]

United Flight 93 was scheduled to depart at 8:00am, but the Boeing 757 did not depart until 42 minutes later due to runway traffic delays. Six minutes later, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower. 15 minutes later, at 9:03 am, as United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, United 93 was climbing to cruising altitude, heading west over New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. At 9:25 am, Flight 93 was above eastern Ohio, and its pilot radioed Cleveland controllers to inquire about an alert that had been flashed on his cockpit computer screen to "beware of cockpit intrusion." Three minutes later, Cleveland controllers could hear screams over the cockpit's open microphone. Moments later, the hijackers, led by the Lebanese Ziad Samir Jarrah, took over the plane's controls, disengaged the autopilot, and told passengers, "Keep remaining sitting. We have a bomb on board." Beamer and the other passengers were herded into the back of the plane. The curtain between first class and second class had been drawn, at which point Beamer saw the pilot and co-pilot lying dead on the floor just outside the curtain, their throats having been cut, as a flight attendant informed him. Within six minutes, the plane changed course and was heading for Washington, D.C.. Several of the passengers made phone calls to loved ones, who informed them about the two planes that had crashed into the World Trade Center. Beamer tried to place a credit card call through a phone located on the back of a plane seat, but was routed to a customer-service representative, who passed him on to GTE airphone supervisor Lisa Jefferson. With FBI agents listening in on their call, Beamer informed Jefferson that hijackers had taken over United 93, that one passenger had been killed, and mentioned the dead pilots. He also stated that two of the hijackers had knives, and that one appeared to have a bomb strapped around his waist. When the hijackers veered the plane sharply south, Beamer briefly panicked, exclaiming, "We're going down! We're going down!"[3][9][10]

Flight 93 crash site

Following this, the passengers and flight crew decided to act.[3] According to accounts of cell phone conversations, Beamer, along with Mark Bingham, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick formed a plan to take the plane back from the hijackers.[11] They were joined by other passengers, including Lou Nacke, Rich Guadagno, Alan Beaven, Honor Elizabeth Wainio, Linda Gronlund, and William Cashman, along with flight attendants Sandra Bradshaw and Cee Cee Ross-Lyles, in discussing their options and voting on a course of action, ultimately deciding to storm the cockpit and take over the plane.[3] Beamer told Jefferson that the group was planning to "jump on" the hijackers and fly the plane into the ground before the hijackers' plan could be followed through.[8][9] Beamer recited the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm with Jefferson, prompting others to join in. Beamer requested of Jefferson, "If I don't make it, please call my family and let them know how much I love them." After this, Jefferson heard muffled voices and Beamer clearly answering, "Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll." These were Beamer's last words to Jefferson.[3][9][10]

According to the 9/11 Commission Report, after the plane's voice data recorder was recovered, it revealed pounding and crashing sounds against the cockpit door and shouts and screams in English. "Let's get them!" a passenger cries. A hijacker shouts, "Allah akbar!" ("God is great"). Jarrah repeatedly pitched the plane to knock passengers off their feet, but the passengers apparently managed to invade the cockpit, where one was heard shouting, "In the cockpit. If we don't, we'll die." At 10:02 am, a hijacker orders, "Pull it down! Pull it down!" The 9/11 Commission later reported that the plane's control wheel was turned hard to the right, causing it to roll on its back plow into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 580 miles an hour, killing everyone on board. The plane was twenty minutes of flying time away from its suspected target, the White House or the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. According to Vice President Dick Cheney, President George W. Bush had given the order to shoot the plane down had it continued its path to Washington.[3]

Legacy

Beamer's name is located on Panel S-68 of the National September 11 Memorial’s South Pool, along with those of other passengers of Flight 93.

Beamer was survived by his wife, Lisa, and their sons, David and Andrew (known as "Drew"), who were three and one at the time of Beamer's death.[8] In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people on September 20, 2001, which Lisa Beamer attended, President Bush praised the courage of United 93's passengers, naming Beamer in particular, whom he called "an exceptional man." In an November 8 address from the World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, Bush repeated Beamer's last-heard words, saying, "Some of our greatest moments have been acts of courage for which no one could have been prepared. But we have our marching orders. My fellow Americans, let's roll!"[3] Beamer's daughter, Morgan Kay,[1] was born January 9, 2002, four months after Beamer's death. President and First Lady Laura Bush were among those who sent letters to Morgan upon her birth.[12][13]

In 2002, the passengers of Flight 93, including Beamer, were posthumously awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.[14][15]

The Cranbury, New Jersey post office was dedicated to Beamer on May 4, 2002, as a result of an Act of Congress authored by Congressman Rush D. Holt, Jr.. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush.[16][17]

In 2003, Wheaton College honored Beamer, an alumnus, by opening the Todd M. Beamer Center, which encompasses Anderson Commons, Coray Alumni Gym and the Student Center located on the lower level.[16][7] That same year, Todd Beamer High School opened in Federal Way, Washington.[16][18]

In 2006, Beamer's widow, Lisa, wrote a book with coauthor Ken Abraham, Let's Roll! Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage. The book's royalties were used to establish the nonprofit Todd M. Beamer Foundation, a nonprofit foundation founded in October 2011 to counsel traumatized children of 9/11 victims and survivors.[3][16] Beamer's best friend, Doug Macmillan, quit his job to become the administrator of the Foundation.[10]

In February 2010, the city of Fresno, California dedicated Todd Beamer Park.[19]

At the National 9/11 Memorial, Beamer and other passengers from Flight 93 are memorialized at the South Pool, on Panel S-68.[20]

On September 10, 2013, Wheaton Academy honored Beamer by unveiling a plaque dedicated to him on the grounds of the Academy, next to a plaque of a former student who was killed in Afghanistan.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b "Hijack Hero's Baby Born: Todd Beamer's Daughter Will Carry His Middle Name". CBS News. January 10, 2002. Retrieved January 2, 2013. "Lisa Beamer, the widow of one of the hero passengers who vowed to fight back before their hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, has given birth to a healthy baby girl."
  2. ^ Pierce, Victoria. "Hero's wife handling spotlight". Daily Herald, September 22, 2001. Accessed September 7, 2008. "Todd Beamer is among those being hailed as a hero for foiling several hijackers and perhaps preventing a fourth crash into a landmark building on Sept. 11."
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Evensen, Bruce J. (2000). "Beamer, Todd Morgan". American National Biography. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  4. ^ Beamer, Lisa; Ken Abraham (2003). Let's Roll: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage. Tyndale House Publishers. ISBN 0-8423-7418-3. 
  5. ^ a b Schulte, Sarah (September 13, 2011). "9/11 hero Todd Beamer honored by Wheaton Academy". ABC News.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Passenger: Todd Beamer". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 28, 2001.
  7. ^ a b "Beamer Center". Wheaton College. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d Taylor, LaTonya, (October 1, 2001). "'Beamer's Faith, Competitive Streak Set Scene for Flight 93 Heroism'". Christianity Today.
  9. ^ a b c McKinnon, Jim (September 16, 2001). "The phone line from Flight 93 was still open when a GTE operator heard Todd Beamer say: 'Are you guys ready? Okay. Let's roll...'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  10. ^ a b c Vulliamy, Ed (December 1, 2001). "'Let's roll...'". The Guardian.
  11. ^ "Unexpected legacy left by hero of Flight 93". Yahoo! News. September 2, 2011.
  12. ^ "Post-Sept. 11 Baby Morgan Kay Beamer". ABC News. February 21, 2014.
  13. ^ Rogers, Patrick (January 28, 2002). "Living Legacy". People.
  14. ^ "Flight 93 passengers selected for Ashe Award". Associated Press/ESPY Awards. 2002. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  15. ^ "Arthur Ashe Award: Flight 93 Passengers". ESPN. 2002. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d Atkins, Stephen E. (June 2, 2011). The 9/11 Encyclopedia: Second Edition. ABC-CLIO. p. 66. Archived at Google Books. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  17. ^ "Cranbury: Post Office Dedication to Todd Beamer". Cranbury, New Jersey. Retrieved May 14, 2014. "On Saturday, May 4th, a dedication ceremony was held at the Cranbury post office. The United States Postal Service dedicated Cranbury's post office to Todd Beamer, a Cranbury resident who gave his life aboard United flight 93 on September 11th." 
  18. ^ "Let’s roll: A 9/11 hero’s name lives on". Federal Way Mirror. September 10, 2008.
  19. ^ "CITY OF FRESNO WILL PAY TRIBUTE TO 9/11 HERO AT PARK GRAND OPENING CEREMONY FRIDAY". City of Fresno. February 24, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  20. ^ Todd M. Beamer. Memorial Guide. National 9/11 Memorial. Retrieved October 28, 2011.

External links