UPLAND, IND. Flight 93 hero's father tells of his son's 'day before'
On this day, his family will focus on the blessings they feel they have received.
UPLAND, Ind. (AP) -- The father of Todd Beamer said his son had no way of knowing on the day before Sept. 11 that he would end up leading a passenger rebellion against hijackers -- and he urged an Indiana audience to be ready for their own "day before."
"You know what tomorrow is, right? Sept. 11, the two-year anniversary," David Beamer told listeners Wednesday at Taylor University's Upland campus, about 30 miles north of Muncie.
"You know what today is? It's the day before. It's all about the day before," he said.
Todd Beamer, who had just returned from a trip to Europe, was a passenger on Flight 93 when it was hijacked Sept. 11, 2001. He is famed for saying, "Are you guys ready? Let's roll," in leading an apparent attack on the terrorists, bringing the plane down before it could strike a target in Washington, D.C.
The jetliner crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pa., about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, killing everyone on board.
David Beamer, whose daughter Melissa is a 1989 Taylor graduate, spoke Wednesday at a Sept. 11 remembrance service at the interdenominational Christian college. Before Beamer spoke, two police officers, an emergency medical services worker and a nurse lighted four candles signifying the four planes that crashed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Tribute to heroes
"We know Todd got up that morning a free man and went off to provide for his family," he said. "We also know that he woke up a free man and an American citizen. They all died heroes, defending Americans."
Since the attacks two years ago, Todd's widow, Lisa, wrote a best-selling book about her husband and gave birth to the couple's second child. Todd's last words to his wife on his cell phone became a rallying cry against terrorism. And some family members have started speaking publicly.
On the two-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, David Beamer said the family would focus not on the deaths caused by the terrorists but on the blessings family members feel they have received.
For the Beamer family, every day is a remembrance, he said.
David Beamer recalled the last time he saw his son, during a visit two weeks before the attacks.
"It was a wonderful time and when they left, I did what I always did. I hugged Todd and said 'I love you, Beam,' and I don't regret that," he said.