Active Christian on Flight 93 Hailed as a Hero
Wheaton College graduate and others figured out how to do extraordinary things aboard United plane.
September 1, 2001
Todd Beamer will always be remembered as a national hero.
But members of Princeton Alliance Church in Plainsboro, New Jersey, say they thought of the 32-year-old father of two as a hero long before he and others on United Flight 93 confronted hijackers on the Boeing 757 on September 11.
The flight was the only one that did not hit a target. Instead, it crashed in rural Pennsylvania.
Vice President Dick Cheney said Beamer and the others kept the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history from having an even greater impact in the nation's capital.
"What they did was to foil, I think, the attack on Washington," he said on NBC's Meet the Press. "Without question, the attack would've been much worse if it hadn't been for the courageous actions of those individuals on United 93."
On board Beamer called a GTE Airfone operator about the hijacking, recited the Lord's Prayer, and said, "Let's roll." Beamer and the others, investigators believe, then somehow interfered with the terrorists' plans and kept the jet from hitting a target presumed to be in Washington.
"To the world they were ordinary [but] they figured out how to do extraordinary things. … to overcome the worst adversity I could ever imagine," Beamer's wife, Lisa, told Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. Lisa Beamer, also 32, is expecting the couple's third child in January. Lisa Beamer says faith and family were always her husband's priorities.
The Beamers, who met as students at Wheaton College in Illinois, have been members of Princeton Alliance for about six years, says John Edgar Caterson, senior associate pastor. They both have been youth sponsors, Todd Beamer taught a high school Sunday school class, and Lisa Beamer is on the church's governing board.
Caterson, a member of ...