I will admit, when I think of 9/11, I recall what happened in New York City and I do need to be reminded of what happened at the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. And I know I am not the only one there. The facts and figures and news fades for many of us, but we must remember it was an attack on our nation and not just NYC. I will do better.
One way in doing so is recalling some of our heroes, one in particular we lost as the plane went down in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. To help those remember, a memorial in honor of that flight was dedicated in December 2007.
The passengers and crew members are considered heroes. One was athlete Mark Bingham.
“He was one of those guys who was happy to help people in need,” recalls Damon Billian, who had known Mark Bingham since the 8th grade.
Bingham was one of the passengers that fought the four hijackers that had taken over the plane. The passengers attempted to break into the cockpit to prevent the terrorists from making it to their target, many believe was the White House in Washington, DC.
Instead of hitting that target, the plane crashed in a rural field in Pennsylvania. Bingham, a gay man, was one of the passengers, leading the charge to try and stop the terrorists.
“It’s nice to see everybody see a gay man isn’t a weak person or somebody not able to do great things,” said Billian. – nbcbayarea.com
Billian also stated, “I hope one day the gay hero part goes away even though I think it’s important. If we can get to the point that he was a hero and that’s the end of the story.” I do remember, me as a gay man, back in 2001, that this man was something. This man was one of us that was fighting for himself and others. We were proud of him back then and we should still be proud now.
And we all would love the day when coming out stories may not be needed, or magnification of the fact that gay people are real people, too. But alas, we don’t live in that world yet and youth and others need to see that we are every day people, or heroes, or others us and society can look up to.
Bingham will also be remembered as a great asset to the bay area rugby scene. He gave his time and efforts to a high school in Los Gatos, to U.C. Berkeley, and to the San Francisco Fog, a gay-friendly football club that he helped form.
On Saturday, the Fog played a rugby game in San Francisco to honor Bingham and all the other passengers and crew members who died tragically on Sept. 11.