Beamer Remembers 9-11

Beamer remembers 9-11Lisa Beamer with Ken Abraham. 2002. “Let’s Roll! Ordinary People Extraordinary Courage.” Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Some days cast a shadow.

For anyone worked close to the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001, the story of Flight 93 is personal. How close to an airliner crash site is safe? Who says that a terrorist will even hit their target? After my mom called me on that Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. to talk about the Twin Towers, I sheltered in place in my office at the foot of Capitol Hill until they turned the lights out around 2 p.m. and I left for home. At that point, I drove through the ghost town that Washington had become, over the Fourteenth Street Bridge into Virginia, and past the Pentagon, which was still burning. The only cars on the road were police vehicles.


Lisa Beamer’s book, Let’s Roll,is a Christian memoir written by the wife of Todd Beamer, a passenger on Flight 93 which was hijacked by terrorists with the intent of crashing the plane into the U.S. Capitol building. The back cover reads:

“[Lisa] offers a poignant glimpses of a genuine American hero—his growing-up years and their marriage and last week together. She talks candidly about the devastating day her children learned their daddy had died, the birth of her third child, and how she’s found the codependence to go on in the face of such tragedy and loss.”

Prior to 9-11, planes were hijacked now and then, but only to divert the plane to another destination. This implied that the best strategy for passengers to survive on a hijacked was to relax and enjoy the flight. The idea that a jet liner might be used as a suicide bomb was unheard of, unimaginable.

The Choice

Four planes were hijacked on 9-11, each by a team of terrorists. Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City and another crashed into the Pentagon Building in Northern Virginia across the Potomac River from Washington DC. The loss of life was staggering.

The fourth plane, United Flight 93 out of Newark, New Jersey bound for San Francisco, was late in being diverted. Because of this delay, passengers on the flight learned over their cell phones about the fate of the other three flights while they were still over Pennsylvania. Consequently, they realized that they had a choice: do nothing and surely die or fight to regain control of their plane and possibly live. Todd Beamer was one of the passengers who decided to fight.

Going Out on Faith

As the hijacking unfolded, Todd called United Airlines to report the takeover and spoke with Lisa Jefferson who asked him for a few details. Sitting next to a flight attendant, Todd reported:

“[there are] 27 passengers in coach, 10 in first class, five flight attendants, and no children that he could see. ‘He told me that three people had taken over the place,’ said Lisa, ‘two armed with knives and one with a bomb strapped around his waist with a red belt. The two with knives had locked themselves in the cockpit.”(200)

Lisa spoke with Todd for about 15 minutes. As the hijackers realized something was up, they began rocking the place back and forth to throw off their pursuers. Todd told her:

“’We’re going to do something…I don’t think that we are going to get out of this thing.’ Todd said, ‘I’m going to have to go out on faith.’ He told me that they were talking about jumping the guy with the bomb.”(211)

At around 10 a.m., Lisa overhead Todd talking with someone else. He said: “Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll!”(214) The plane was 15 to 20 minutes away from Washington. The cockpit recorder records dishes crashing and screaming. The terrorist piloting put the plane into a dive. Then, impact.


I read this book in a single setting. Because I go into tears just thinking about these events, writing a review posed a challenge. Nevertheless, if you want to read about Todd Beamer’s life and the events of 9-11, Lisa Beamer’s Let’s Roll is a page-turner.

Beamer Remembers 9-11

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Adult Prayer

Dad_SWH_SRAH_2012bMost Merciful Father,

We give thanks that you are:
“merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exod. 34:6 ESV), an example to the rest of us.

We confess that too often we are short tempered, ungracious, impatient, unloving, and unfaithful.

But for your example, we would be worse, but we are thankful that have provided us role models in the church that follow you day by day.

We remember and thank you for our heroes from September 11, 2001 who gave their energy and, in some cases, their lives to protect us from evil men. May their sacrifices never be forgotten.

We pray for more adults in our life, community and country to lead us to follow your example. Nurture and protect them that we might benefit from their example and guidance and follow you more fully each day.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us strength to meet the challenges of each new day with grace and a peaceful heart.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Adult Prayer

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God of All Wonders, Forgiving Lord

Celtic Cross
Celtic Cross

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Almighty Father, Blessed Son, Holy Spirit:

All praise and honor are yours, Lord, God of our youth and times since then.

For you forgive our sins, overlook our transgressions, and set aside our iniquity for the sake of your son, Jesus Christ,

who lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sin, rose from the dead, and reigns in glory.

Forgive our haughty spirit; our passion for power; and our worship of money.

May we learn to forgive our neighbors; those that we do not understand; and those that make war on us, not because they deserve our forgiveness, but because our hearts belong to you and vengeance is yours alone.

Remember the fallen, heal our wounds, comfort the afflicted, and soften bitter hearts.

For our lives hang in the balance day after day, leveraged on your provision, not through any merit of our own–may your Holy Spirit rule our hearts.

In the sunshine of your love, may we replace hate with understanding, delight in the example of your son, and grow more like him day by day.

In the warmth of your grace, grant us ears that listen, eyes that see, and a heart for those that you love.

Through the power of your Holy Spirit and in Jesus’ name, Amen.

God of All Wonders, Forgiving Lord

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