a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Just another American hero

Posted by Thomas Nephew on September 28th, 2001

Eulogy in Honor of Mark Bingham Delivered by Senator John McCain

By way of well known background: Mark Bingham was one of the passengers on Flight 93 who reported he was going to help rush the cockpit; the terrorists’ goals for this plane were evidently not accomplished.

He was also gay: the clearest evidence ever that term also encompasses “hero,” “brave,” and “decent” (just as it can encompass all the other good and bad attributes of humanity). It was all the more sickening to remember Falwell and Robertson interpreting the attacks as the wrath of God for our nation’s tolerance of homosexuals (among others). Somehow you get the impression neither of them would have waddled up that aisle to save a nation so deserving of punishment.

McCain only referred to this indirectly (“Pay no heed to the voices of the poor, misguided souls, in this country and overseas, who claim that America brought these atrocities on herself. They are deluded, and their hearts are cramped by hatred and fear.) But he clearly knew who he was eulogizing, and I appreciate his decent, aware, and strong words for this man’s life and death: “To all of you who loved Mark, and were loved by him, he will never be so far from you that you cannot feel his love. As our faith informs us, you will see him again, when our loving God reunites us all with the loved ones who preceded us. Take care of each other until then, as he would want you to. May God bless Mark. And may God bless us all.”

I work about three blocks from the White House. I may well owe Bingham and his comrades my life. I will always remember them.

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