Holding Out For A Hero

As we have already noted, the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks shapes up as a disappointment–paeans to multiculturalism, peace quilts, and the like. So far, I have seen only one news story that unreservedly celebrates the heroism that was shown by so many on that day. Fittingly enough, it relates to Flight 93.

The story of Flight 93 has always meant a lot to me, because I am such a frequent business traveler. It is easy to identify with the young businessmen who were on a sleepy, early morning flight to the West Coast and realized, as events unfolded, that they were in the midst not only of a nightmare, but of a world-historical event. That, as one of them put it, their lives were forfeit, but their honor was not. I think everyone who reads about their decisive actions, which may have saved the U.S. Capitol from destruction, wonders whether he would have been equal to the task that morning.

So I was glad to see the linked story on one of the heroes of Flight 93, which celebrated his bravery unabashedly:

Mark Bingham died Sept. 11, 2001, while saving countless lives. Just how many will never be known.

The rugby player was one of the heroic passengers who led a revolt against the terrorists on United Airlines Flight 93. The hijackers planned to slam the plane into the White House or the U.S. Capitol, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. Instead, the plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pa., killing the terrorists and passengers – but nobody else. …

Flight 93 passengers learned from cell phone conversations that the World Trade Center and Pentagon had already been attacked. Bingham – along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett, and Jeremy Glick – formulated a game plan of sorts to overtake the hijackers, according to accounts from the phone calls. All four men were athletes.

Bingham stood 6-foot-4, weighed roughly 225 lbs., and played rugby. Beamer was 6-foot-2 and was a former basketball player. Burnett, 6-foot-3, played quarterback in high school and college. And Glick, also 6-foot-3, was a national collegiate judo champ. [Bingham’s mother Alice] Hoagland is convinced that their ability to think quickly, coupled with their physical strength, made a difference in stopping the plane from hitting one of its targets.

“Competitive sports and athletic ability really made a difference for America on that day,” she says.

Hey, I’m with her all the way. It is great to see heroism and sacrifice celebrated in good, old-fashioned style. But why have such celebrations have been so scarce? Why this out-of-the-blue tribute to Mark Bingham?

OK, I confess–I cheated. I edited the third sentence of the Yahoo News story. Here is how it actually reads:

The openly gay rugby player was one of the heroic passengers who led a revolt against the terrorists on United Airlines Flight 93.

Is being gay what it takes to be acknowledged as a hero by today’s media? Perhaps so. Can you think of another explanation for the paucity of stories this week featuring the many heroes who emerged on September 11, and in its aftermath? Including, among others, Bingham’s brothers in arms on Flight 93? Well, they were unarmed, but you get the point.

I personally couldn’t care less about Mark Bingham’s sex life. When it counted, he was not just a man but a hero, and he gave his life for his country. But have we really reached the point in our liberal media culture when a man can only be hailed for his indisputably heroic actions if he also happened to be gay? Someone please assure me that my suspicion is wrong by linking to the many other stories that must have been written about the other heroes of September 11 and its aftermath.

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