Todd Beamer: His Story Doesn’t End

Todd Beamer should have turned 50 today.

He should have been celebrating Thanksgiving weekend today with his wife and  three children.

He won’t be celebrating either, as he was a leader of the first group to give their lives while defending America as part of the war on terror.

Mr. Beamer was a former baseball player at Fresno State and Wheaton College, a father of two, and taught Sunday school. He boarded United Flight 93 in Newark New Jersey for a business trip to San Francisco on the morning of September 11, 2001. He had plans to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his first date with his wife when he got home. She was pregnant with their third child.

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Photo Credit: Time Toast

After the hijackers took over the plane, Beamer saw the dead co-pilot laying in the aisle near the cockpit with his throat slit. He reached for the phone on the seat back in front of him and tried to call his wife, but could not get through. He instead got a G.T.E. operator. He told her what was happening, and she connected the call to F.B.I. agents.

The phone remained connected for fifteen minutes while Beamer and several others organized to overtake the terrorists. He had the flight attendants boil water and assemble whatever could be used as a weapon.
He said the Lords prayer and the Psalm 23 with the G.T.E. operator, others joined in. He then told her to call his wife and kids and tell them he loved them. The last words the operator heard Todd Beamer say were, “Are you guys ready? Let’s Roll.”

In the Cockpit, pilots Jason Dahl and LeRoy Homer Jr had been doing all they could to disrupt the hijackers.   Beamer led his fellow heroes into the cockpit by using the beverage cart to break through the door.  A Melee ensued, and the plane was crashed into a field in western Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board.  Thankfully, the passengers were able to keep the hijackers from their intended target, the United States Capitol building in Washington D.C.  Both the House of Representatives and Senate were in session that day.  First Lady Laura Bush was in the Capitol Building, about to address a Senate Committee on education.  The plane was less than 30 minutes from reaching the Capitol.

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United 93 crash site.  Photo Credit StMu media

THE STORY DIDN’T END THERE
Many of us know the story of United 93, as we should.  What we don’t think about very often is family, love ones, friends, children, etc. of the people who lost their lives that day.   Stories don’t end, and neither did Todd Beamer’s.

Todd’s wife Lisa went to the very Capitol building her husband helped save just nine days later to be honored by President George W. Bush in a speech to Congress, the nation, and the world.  She would write a book telling her husbands story entitled, “Let’s Roll.”  She made over 200 media appearances in the next year to raise awareness and money for the Todd Beamer foundation, which helps children who have suffered trauma.

She is also raising  three kids alone.

Their oldest son David was three years old when his father died on September 11, 2001.  he is now a quarterback on the football team at Wheaton College where his dad also played, and his mom was a cheerleader.  Two years ago David led an incredible come from behind victory in the New Jersey High School Football game known as the “Sunshine Classic.”  He went 16 of 18 passing, leading his team to 28 unanswered points, showing the leadership that reminded many of his father, guiding people who didn’t really know each other to do something great.  He was awarded the Most Valuable Player award for the game, a moment he surely would have liked to have shared with his father.

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Photo Credit: Wheaton University

Drew Beamer was just a one year old on 9/11.  He is now a a freshman on the Wheaton College soccer team.  Morgan Kay Beamer was given the name “Morgan” because that was her father’s middle name, a father she never met.  She is now a High School junior who also plays lacrosse.

This picture struck me.  Lisa Beamer is showing her daughter Morgan the “Todd Beamer Student Center” at Wheaton College.
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Photo Credit: Wheaton Magazine

Todd Beamer and the heroes of United 93 should always be remembered and honored. They were doing the same thing people like us do everyday, but just had the bad luck of being on the wrong flight. Thank Goodness they summoned the courage to fight back and win.

We should also never forget those that they and other victims of September 11th have left behind. They have had to soldier on with empty chairs at their tables, holes in their hearts, and every day wondering why.   For them, the story of September 11 will never end.

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