Eulogy in Honor of Mark Bingham
"I didn't know Mark Bingham. We met once briefly during my
presidential campaign, yet I cannot say that I knew him well. But I wish I had.
I wish I had. You meet a lot of people when you run for President. I was
fortunate to have had the support of many Americans who were, until then,
strangers to me. And I regret to say, that like most candidates I was
pre-occupied with winning or losing. I had not thought as much as I should have
about what an honor, what an extraordinary honor it was to have so many citizens
of the greatest nation on earth place their trust in me, and use our campaign as
an expression of their own patriotism. They were the best thing about our
campaign, not me. Had I been successful, my greatest challenge would have been
to prove myself worthy of the faith of so many good people.
"I love my country, and I take pride in serving her. But I cannot
say that I love her more or as well as Mark Bingham did, or the other heroes on
United Flight 93 who gave their lives to prevent our enemies from inflicting an
even greater injury on our country. It has been my fate to witness great courage
and sacrifice for America's sake, but none greater than the selfless sacrifice
of Mark Bingham and those good men who grasped the gravity of the moment,
understood the threat, and decided to fight back at the cost of their lives.
"In the Gospel of John it is written "Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Such was the love that Mark
and his comrades possessed, as they laid down their lives for others. A love so
sublime that only God's love surpasses it.
"It is now believed that the terrorists on Flight 93 intended to
crash the airplane into the United States Capitol where I work, the great house
of democracy where I was that day. It is very possible that I would have been in
the building, with a great many other people, when that fateful, terrible moment
occurred, and a beautiful symbol of our freedom was destroyed along with
hundreds if not thousands of lives. I may very well owe my life to Mark and the
others who summoned the enormous courage and love necessary to deny those
depraved, hateful men their terrible triumph. Such a debt you incur for life.
"I will try very hard, very hard, to discharge my public duties in a
manner that honors their memory. All public servants are now solemnly obliged to
do all we can to help this great nation remain worthy of the sacrifice of New
York City firefighters, police officers, emergency medical people, and worthy of
the sacrifice of the brave passengers on Flight 93.
"No American living today will ever forget what happened on
September 11, 2001. That day was the moment when the hinge of history swung
toward a new era not only in the affairs of this nation, but in the affairs of
all humanity. The opening chapter of this new history is tinged with great
sadness and uncertainty. But as we begin please take strength from the example
of the American we honor today, and those who perished to save others in New
York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The days ahead will be difficult, and we will
know more loss and sorrow. But we will prevail. We will prevail.
"Pay no heed to the voices of the poor, misguided souls, in this
country and overseas, who claim that America brought these atrocities on
herself. They are deluded, and their hearts are cramped by hatred and fear. Our
respect for Man's God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
assures us of victory even as it made us a target for the enemies of freedom who
mistake hate and depravity for power. The losses we have suffered are grave, and
must not be forgotten. But we should all take pride and unyielding resolve from
the knowledge that we were attacked because we were good, and good we will
remain as we vanquish the evil that preys upon us.
"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.
"America will overcome these atrocities. We will prevail over our
enemies. We will right this terrible injustice. And when we do, let us claim it
as a tribute to our liberty, and to Mark Bingham and all those who died to
"To all of you who loved Mark, and were loved by him, he will never
be so far from you that you cannot feel his love. As our faith informs us, you
will see him again, when our loving God reunites us all with the loved ones who
preceded us. Take care of each other until then, as he would want you to. May
God bless Mark. And may God bless us all.
Delivered by Senator
San Francisco, CA
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