One of the things to come out of the tragedy on 9/11 was some of the amazing tales and acts of true heroism displayed on that day and the days and years after as this country came together.

It included several examples from the Bay Area, perhaps none resonating more than the efforts of the passengers and crew on United Airlines Flight 93, which was headed to San Francisco from Newark.

The plane was the last of four to be hijacked on September 11, 2001. Although the exact target is still unknown, many experts believe the hijackers were targeting the Capitol Building or the White House.

After the hijackers took control of the plane, a group of passengers took a vote and decided to try to storm the cockpit and regain control of the aircraft. Through various phone calls with friends and loved ones, they had heard that other planes had been hijacked, including the two that crashed into the World Trade Center.

Knowing what was about to occur if they sat back and did nothing, the passengers decided the only chance they had to survive was to try to overwhelm the hijackers. So upon passenger Todd Beamer’s famous words, “Let’s Roll,” the passengers stormed the cockpit.

United Flight 93 would eventually crash in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all 33 passengers and seven crew members on board.

Mark Bingham, who grew up near Los Gatos, was among the group that rushed the cabin. “He was a bit of a ramrod and he would take charge of situations,” said his mother, Alice Hoagland.

Also among that group was Thomas Burnett Jr. of San Ramon. His wife, Deena, who has since remarried, attended a ceremony in Southern California this weekend. “I am so grateful that I had the time I had with Tom,” she told KABC in Los Angeles. “I am grateful for the impact he had on my life.”

48-year-old Alan Beaven of Oakland was an environmental lawyer; 20-year-old Deora Bodley was a student at Santa Clara University; 62-year-old Andrew “Sonny” Garcia of Portola Valley was the president and founder of Cinco Group Inc.; 38-year-old Lauren Grandcolas was a saleswoman for Good Housekeeping magazine; 38-year-old Richard Guadagno of Eureka was the manager of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge; and 21-year-old Nicole Miller of San Jose was a student at West Valley College.

A dedication was held this past weekend in Pennsylvania for a planned Flight 93 National Memorial.  If anything has come out of this past week of remembrance, let’s hope that the people that lost their lives on Flight 93 and the thousands of others who perished on 9/11 will be remembered not only on these anniversaries, but each and every day for their courage, bravery and true American spirit.



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