Remembering Mark Bingham and all those lost during 9/11

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The US is remembering the victims of the 9/11 attacks in a series of memorials marking the anniversary.

The attacks killed almost 3,000 people in New York, the Washington DC area and Pennsylvania on September 11 2001.

Relatives of the victims have come together at the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial Plaza for an annual name-reading ceremony honouring every one of the people who died in the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and inside the plane that crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

During the ceremony, six moments of silence will be observed marking the strikes on the towers, and the Pentagon, the collapse of the skyscrapers and the time United Airlines Flight 93 went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The legacy of those who died continues to live on, illustrated by the story of Mark Bingham.

Mark, a gay rugby fan and sportsman, was a passenger on Flight 93.

Mr Bingham is widely credited with preventing further deaths when he assisted in defending the aircraft against the hijackers.

The passenger successfully overthrew the hijackers and managed to bring down the plane in a field.

37 people lost their lives aboard Flight 93, but their actions saved hundreds more – and Mark Bingham is considered one of the many heroes of 9/11.

His mother, Alice Hoagland, a former United Airlines flight attendant, has championed LGBT rights and the issue of airline safety in the years since her son’s death.

The Bingham Cup, a biennial international rugby union competition predominantly for gay and bisexual men, was established in 2002 in his memory.

“I’m proud of Mark and everyone involved in the Bingham Cup,” Ms Hoagland told radio station 702 ABC Sydney.

“I lost my son but gained 60 teams of rugby players,” she said.

Mark was 31-years-old when his expanding public relations business opened a New York office.

He was the last passenger to board Flight 93, returning to San Francisco for a friend’s wedding.

“The phone rang at 6:44 in the morning,” Ms Hoagland recounted. “‘Mum, I just want to let you know I love you’.”

Mark hatched a plan with fellow passengers Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick, to storm the cockpit and overpower the hijackers.

The actions of the group forced the plane down into a field and avoided the hijackers’ intended target, believed to be the White House, potentially saving many lives.