Todd Beamer - "Are you guys ready? Let's
'Let's roll,' Flight 93 victim heard to say minutes before crash
"Are you guys ready? Let's roll!" It's an expression Todd Beamer used whenever his wife and two young sons were leaving their home for a family outing.
It was also the expression the 32-year-old businessman and Sunday school teacher used before he and other passengers apparently took action against hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 93, his wife was told by an operator who talked to Beamer just before the plane crashed in a western Pennsylvania field last week.
The plane, which government officials suspect was headed for a high-profile target in Washington, was the fourth to crash in a coordinated terrorist attack that killed thousands, and the only one that didn't take lives on the ground.
"He was gentle by nature, he was also very competitive, and he wouldn't stand for anyone being hurt," said Lisa Beamer, whose account coincides with other crash victim relatives who received calls from loved ones aboard the plane. "Knowing that he helped save lives by bringing that plane down ... it brings joy to a situation where there isn't much to be found."
Todd Beamer placed a call on one of the Boeing 757's on-board telephones and spoke for 13 minutes with GTE operator Lisa D. Jefferson, Beamer's wife said. He provided detailed information about the hijacking and -- after the operator told him about the morning's World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks -- said he and others on the plane were planning to act against the terrorists aboard, Lisa Beamer said.
"They may have realized that (the hijackers) were planning to do the same thing with their plane," Beamer said Sunday in a telephone interview from her Hightstown, N.J., home. "So they chose to do what they could to prevent other people from being hurt."
Before the call ended and with yelling heard in the background, Todd Beamer asked the operator to pray with him. Together, they recited the 23rd Psalm, which includes the passage: "(the Lord) leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." Then he asked Jefferson to promise she would call his wife of seven years and their two sons, David, 3, and Andrew, 1. She is expecting their third child in January.
After finally receiving clearance from investigators, Jefferson kept her promise Friday.
"People asked me if I'm upset that I didn't speak with him, but I'm glad he called (Jefferson) instead," Lisa Beamer said. "I would have been helpless. And I know what his last words would have been to me, anyway. I think that's why he chose the method he did."
Beamer said her husband placed the call at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday and told Jefferson that there were three knife-wielding hijackers on board and one had what appeared to be a bomb tied to his chest with a red belt. Two of the hijackers were in the cockpit with the door locked -- the pilot and co-pilot were forced out -- and the man with the apparent bomb stayed in the rear of the aircraft.
The jet was bobbing and changed course several times. The passengers knew they would never land in San Francisco.
"They realized they were going to die. Todd said he and some other passengers were going to jump on the guy with the bomb," Lisa Beamer said.
Several other passengers made phone calls from the jet before it crashed southeast of Pittsburgh. Jeremy Glick, 31; Mark Bingham, 31; and Thomas Burnett Jr. 38, all called loved ones. Glick and Burnett said they were going to do something.
"Clearly, we know the plane that crashed outside Pittsburgh was headed for Washington," Vice President Dick Cheney said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. "Without question, the attack would have been much worse if it hadn't been for the courageous acts of those individuals on United 93."
After the prayer was finished and the promise was made to call his wife, Todd Beamer dropped the phone, leaving the line open. It was then that the operator heard Beamer's words: "Let's roll."
They were the last words she heard. The phone went silent, and the plane crashed, killing all 44 people aboard. United issued a statement Sunday saying one of the 37 passengers had purchased two tickets, so the number of people had been incorrectly reported as 45.
"Some people live their whole lives, long lives, without having left anything behind," Lisa Beamer said. "My sons will be told their whole lives that their father was a hero, that he saved lives. It's a great legacy for a father to leave his children."
Bobbi Hennessey, a spokeswoman for GTE parent company Verizon Communications Inc., declined to comment Sunday and a telephone number for Jefferson could not be determined. However, a Verizon employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Jefferson is a supervisor for the company.
At a memorial service held Sunday at Princeton Alliance Church in Plainsboro, N.J., hundreds of friends and relatives remembered Todd Beamer as a devoted family man, a devout Christian, a good friend and a hero.
"I've, of course, asked myself many times why was our beautiful son on that plane?" said David Beamer, Todd's father. "We know why he was on it. The faces of evil -- those particular hijackers -- they got on the wrong plane.
"Todd and these newfound friends on Tuesday morning -- newfound freedom fighters is what they were -- they did the right thing."
Article courtesy: MSNBC
San Franciscan Mark Bingham, 31, struggled for years to integrate two aspects of his life, his friends said: He was a physically robust man who delighted in the rough-and-tumble sport of rugby, and he was gay.
In the last few months of his life, he had finally put those halves together, joining a gay San Francisco rugby club. He played in a tournament in Washington this spring, where ruggers from this city's gay team got to know him a bit. He found out a few days before his death that his young team, the San Francisco Fog, had been accepted as a permanent member of a Northern California rugby league involving mostly straight teams.
"When I started playing rugby at the age of 16, I always thought that my interest in other guys would be an anathema -- completely repulsive to the guys on my team -- and to the people I was knocking the s--- out of on the other team," he wrote to his teammates in a celebratory e-mail.
"I loved the game but knew I would need to keep my sexuality a secret forever. I feared total rejection. As we worked and sweated and ran and talked together this year, I finally felt accepted as a gay man and a rugby player. My two irreconcilable worlds came together."
Friends said Bingham owned a public relations company with offices in San Francisco and New York and traveled frequently. He called his mother before his plane crashed in western Pennsylvania to tell her he loved her.
-- Justin Gillis
Thomas E. Burnett, JR. -
"I know we're going to die. There's three of us who are going to do something about it."
Thomas E. Burnett Jr., senior vice president and chief operating officer of medical-device maker Thoratec Corp., was an athlete and a take-charge executive, a student of military history who kept busts of Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in his office. Thus it was no surprise that as the hijacking of United Flight 93 unfolded, he and some other passengers decided "to do something" to thwart it, they said.
Burnett, 38, had been in New Jersey visiting newly acquired company operations near Edison. He had been scheduled to return to California on an later flight, but his business wound up early and he seized a chance to get home sooner and spend more time with his family -- especially his three young daughters.
Thoratec chief executive D. Keith Grossman said yesterday that Burnett called his wife, Deena, on his cell phone three or four times over the course of 30 to 45 minutes, telling her of the hijacking and directing her to notify authorities. She in turn told him of what had already happened in New York.
"He was certainly a leader," Grossman said, but he ended up in a life-and-death struggle because "he simply wanted to get home earlier."
[Washington Post 9/13/01]
-- Albert B. Crenshaw
Jeremy Glick -
"Our best chance is to fight these people, rather than accept it."
Jeremy Glick, 31 of West Milford, N.J., was flying on business for Vividence,
a sales and marketing company, and managed to telephone his wife, Lyz, after
terrorists took over, said his uncle Tom Crowley. Glick's wife conferenced the
call to a 911 dispatcher, who told Glick about attacks in New York, which had
taken place earlier. Glick's sister, Jennifer, said her brother and some other
passengers stormed the hijackers and apparently got into the cockpit. The
University of Rochester graduate was a national collegiate judo champion. He is
survived by his wife; a daughter, Emerson; his parents; three brothers, and two
UNITED FLIGHT 93
from The New York Times
Crew & Passenger List for United Flight 93
Following is a partial list of those killed on Tuesday on United Airlines Flight 93, bound from Newark to San Francisco, which crashed in rural southwest Pennsylvania:
DAHL, Jason, Denver, captain
HOMER, Leroy, Marlton, N.J., first officer
BAY, Lorraine, flight attendant
BRADSHAW, Sandra 38, Greensboro, N.C., flight attendant
GREEN, Wanda, flight attendant
LYLES, CeeCee, Fort Myers, Fla., flight attendant
WELSH, Deborah, flight attendant
BINGHAM, Mark, 31, San Francisco, public relations executive
BURNETT, Thomas E. Jr., 38, San Ramon, Calif., senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Thoratec Corporation
GRANDCOLAS, Lauren, San Rafael, Calif., sales worker at Good Housekeeping magazine
GREENE, Donald F., 52, Greenwich, Conn.
SNYDER, Christine, 32, Kailua, Hawaii
[source: New York Times 9/13/01]