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Monday, September 12, 2011

Hero Mark Bingham's legacy lives on after 9/11

As you know, yesterday marked the ten year anniversary of the September 11th attacks in the United States. One of the perhaps lesser known stories, especially outside of the US, is that one of the heroes of the United 93 flight takeover was actually a rugby player.

Mark Bingham was one of a handful of guys that took on the hijackers of United Flight 93 that famously crashed in an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing the terrorists and passengers. The flight had been taken over and was allegedly heading for Washington DC.

Bingham was openly gay, and played rugby in San Francisco since his teenage years. At 6ft4, he could handle himself but according to accounts from family and friends, was a sensitive and outgoing good guy. On that fateful day he lost his life but saved countless others, as he and a group of athletic individuals wrestled control of the plane from the hijackers, diverting it's intended course of destruction.

The following video is a fascinating account of what took place, and how rugby played such a great part in Mark's life. "Competitive sports and athletic ability really made a difference for America on that day," say's his mother, Alice Hoagland. She has since been involved in the Bingham Cup, which is now one of the largest gay rugby tournaments in the world. It will be hosted in Manchester in 2012.

The lesson in all of this is one of courage, honour, and standing up for what you believe in.

You can find out more about Mark Bingham and how rugby shaped him at

Credit: Thanks to Yahoo Video

Posted by Rugbydump at 8:20 pm | View Comments (14)

Viewing 14 comments

Ben September 12, 2011 10:33 pm

The World in union.

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IreneNell September 12, 2011 10:33 pm

omg this is soo gripping!!

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Albin September 12, 2011 10:46 pm

I agree with Ben. these moments are the ones that unite us all over the world! Greatings from Sweden

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Rugbydump September 12, 2011 10:58 pm

Much respect also goes to the others who contributed on that day. Jeremy Glick had apparently also played rugby at some stage.

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Steve September 13, 2011 12:16 am

I played for the Los Angeles Rebellion in the Bingham Cup of 2006 (in the video, it's the one with the Aussie giving a speech after winning and hugs Mark's mom) - and his parents come out and give the first speech every tournament. They're really great people and I participated in the Cup out of respect for Mark (they allow anyone to play - I'm not gay and you don't have to be gay - they're simply gay-friendly teams, where it's a positive atmosphere if you are openly gay.) It's one of the most welcoming, inspiring tournaments I've played in.

Except for the game against Manchester, that was just a bunch of rugged fist-fighting. (Obviously my favorite match, though...)

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Big Dave September 13, 2011 12:34 am

Mark was a teammate, a friend and a brother. It was such a great pleasure to have briefly played alongside him.

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Suzan September 13, 2011 4:39 am

A world in union, a world as one!
Mark definitely was a true hero!

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Sam September 13, 2011 7:49 am

God bless you Mark and the others on that flight(s). Genuine heroes. Hope your playing the incredible game up there.

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Athol September 13, 2011 11:57 am

One can only have nothing but respect for Mark

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Andy September 13, 2011 4:47 pm

I play with the Gotham Knights - another team that Mark Bingham had a hand in founding - which won the Biingham Cup in 2010 in Minneapolis. I had the good fortune to meet Mark's mother at the 2008 Bingham Cup in Dublin. From my perspective as a straight guy playing on a largely gay team, it was really special to see how Mark's legacy lives on in the lives of all the athletes - many of whom never played organized sports before - who found their way to the greatest game on earth through the networks Mark Bingham helped establish.

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Jamieson September 15, 2011 8:15 am

this shit made me cry haha. shit

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macmurchu May 22, 2012 5:33 pm

Whatever bravery it takes to lay your body on the line and make a tackle, you laid your life on the line. Different level of bravery altogether

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