Friday, May 04, 2007

What Would Mark Bingham Say?

For those who don't remember, Mark Bingham was one the passengers on United Flight 93, the plane that crashed in rural Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. Mark was believed to be among the passengers that took the plane back from the terrorists that planned to use the plane as a weapon.

Mark Bingham is seen as hero to many.

Mark was also openly gay.

On September 22, 2001, Senator John McCain delivered a eulogy at Mark's memorial service. He noted then,

"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.

Note that McCain says he probably owes his life to Mark and the others who fought back. Not also that he said he incured a debt for life.

Mark Bingham died defending his country. He wasn't in the military, but he was defending it just the same.

So, it is a big puzzle that when asked about allowing gays to serve in the military, McCain would say that he wouldn't support overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He states:

"I believe polarization of personnel and breakdown of unit effectiveness is too high a price to pay for well-intentioned but misguided efforts to elevate the interests of a minority of homosexual service members above those of their units. Most importantly, the national security of the United States, not to mention the lives of our men and women in uniform, are put at grave risk by policies detrimental to the good order and discipline which so distinguish America's Armed Services."

Uh huh.

Senator, it was a gay man who probably saved your butt six years ago. I don't think you cared back then that he slept with men, you were just glad he did what he did. Have you forgotten what you said at Mark's service? Were those mere words? Do you want the Presidency so bad that you will turn your back on Mark's legacy?

For shame, Senator. For shame.


Rick's Time On Earth said...

Terrific post! The peolpe on United Flight 93 were the "military" that day. they were the very first people to stand up to the terrorists and fight back. I can't imagine taking Mark out of the picture. He was a 6'4, 230 pound champion rugby player with the heart of gold and the aggression of a lion. That's what mattered that day, not his sexual orientation.
I'm ashamed of McCain for his comments and stand. Mark proved that we're all equal and even though a few closed minded people can't see it Mark opened the eyes and respect of many others. He's a true hero.

American Spectator said...

I agree that Mark Bingham is a hero but I also must add that homosexuals do serve in the military. Their private lives are to remain private. Now, If I could only get my heterosexual comrades to do the same.