United Hero:  Mark Bingham

Mark Bingham

Mark Bingham Mark Bingham
31 years old
San Francisco, CA

Mark was the CEO of The Bingham Group, a public relations firm with offices in San Francisco and New York. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1993.

Mark Bingham

In 1991 and 1993 he helped the University of California earn national titles in rugby. Jack Clark, the coach of the rugby team, said "He marched to his own beat. This guy was anything but a follower. I don't know if we'll ever know what happened in that airplane, but it would not surprise me that Mark would resist."

A few years ago, the six-foot-five Bingham wrestled a gun from a mugger's hand late at night on a San Francisco street. In July he was carried on the horns of a bull in Pamplona.

Mr. Bingham's uncle, Linden Hogland, said, "Our family figured it out this way. His personality is so obstreperous and irrepressible. You couldn't hold him back. We're sure that after the phone call there was a real struggle, a physical confrontation."

John McCain recently delivered a eulogy to honor the openly gay Bingham, who was one of his supporters in the 2000 presidential campaign. In it he said:

I never knew Mark Bingham. But I wish I had. I know he was a good son and friend, a good rugby player, a good American, and an extraordinary human being. He supported me, and his support now ranks among the greatest honors of my life. I wish I had known before September 11 just how great an honor his trust in me was. I wish I could have thanked him for it more profusely than time and circumstances allowed. But I know it now. And I thank him with the only means I possess, by being as good an American as he was.

Click here for more from PlanetOut.com about McCain's eulogy.

Paul Holm, Bingham's former partner, represented the family at the Day of Remembrance. Holm said of Bingham and fellow local hero Tom Burnett, who also fought back, "They were the one bright spot in a horrible day. I do believe (Mark and Tom) gave people something to hold onto."

Mark's friends and teammates at The San Francisco Fog Rugby Club have created a tribute page at http://www.sffog.org/marktribute.html.

Also see http://www.markbingham.org/

For the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's biography of Mark Bingham, click here.

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