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of the September 11th 2001 attacks in the United States. 9/11, as Americans call it, marks the day when a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks were carried out by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda.

The attacks killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage and $3 trillion in total costs.

New York
New York after the collapse of the
World Trade Center towers
Four passenger airliners operated by two major U.S. passenger air carriers, United Airlines and American Airlines, all of which departed from airports on the northeastern United States bound for California, were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed, with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures.

A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense in Arlington County, Virginia, leading to a partial collapse of the building's western side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, initially was steered toward Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. 9/11 was the deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.

The anniversary of this horrific day brings back many sad memories, but also gives people an opportunity to celebrate the heroism of so many people who risked their lives, or lost them in order to save others. OutUK is proud to tell the stories of some of those people, but in particular one man who we have got to know very well - even though we sadly never had the chance to meet him.

In 2004 we were proud to have been the main sponsor of the biggest gay sporting event in the UK that year - The Bingham Cup. First held in San Francisco in 2002, this was the prestigious international rugby competition for gay and bisexual men, named in remembrance of Mark Bingham.

Mark was an heroic victim of the September 11th attacks. He was a keen rugby player who played for one of the US's leading gay rugby teams, he was one of a group of passengers who overpowered the hijackers on Flight 93.

The Bingham Cup
OutUK as proud sponsors of The 2004 Bingham Cup in honour of Mark Bingham
Mark, along with his friends Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick devised a plan to retake the plane from the hijackers. They led the effort that resulted in the plane crashing into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. They thwarted the hijackers' plan to deliberately crash the plane into a building in Washington, D.C., most likely either the U.S. Capitol Building or the White House.

U.S. intelligence officials revealed that mobile phone communications from Flight 93 suggested that some passengers overpowered the hijackers but were unable to maintain control of the plane. Mark and his friends all lost their lives, but they saved so many others.

U.S. Senators John McCain and Barbara Boxer honored Mark Bingham on September 17, 2001, in a ceremony for San Francisco Bay Area victims of the attacks, presenting a folded American flag to Mark's partner of six years Paul Holm. The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament (referred to as the Bingham Cup), a biennial international rugby union competition predominantly for gay and bisexual men, was established in 2002 in his memory. OutUK sponsored the competition two years later in 2004 when it was staged in the UK at Esher Rugby Football Club.

At the National 9/11 Memorial, Bingham and other passengers from Flight 93 are memorialized at the South Pool, on Panel S-67. At the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, Bingham's name is located on one of the 40 8-foot-tall panels of polished, 3-inch thick granite that comprise the Memorial's Wall of Names.

To commemorate this anniversary we present items from the OutUK Outback Archive which reflect the events of 9/11 and its aftermath.

The book that tells of the heroism and sacrifice of Mark Bingham
Eyewitness Reports From New York and Washington
The Personal Story of Flight 93 Hero Mark Bingham
More on The Anniversary of September 11th 2001
OutUK sponsors the The Bingham Cup
Results and pictures from the 2004 Bingham Cup

 

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