Earlier this year, U.S. Air Force Veteran Mark Lindquist who was running for Congress in his home state gave up his Congressional campaign when the conflict with the Ukraine broke out. Today, he serves 15 miles behind the line in the Ukraine. Mark plans to travel across the globe and, along with other prominent individuals, is making the trip to Los Gatos California, on Sunday, September 11th, to celebrate the lives of those who voluntarily take on selfless acts of courage larger than themselves. The event known as “American Challenge – Lessons from 9/11,” will be hosted at The Flame of Liberty Memorial located upon the Los Gatos Civic Center lawn, 110 East Main Street, Los Gatos California. Musical entertainment will commence at 4:30 PM; formal program launches at 5:00 PM. Information can be found at lessonsfrom911.org.
What if you knew that this was the last hour of your life? How would you spend it? Where would you be? Who would you be with? How would you want to be remembered?
On 9/11, there were three individuals who didn’t have the luxury to think that through – Mark Bingham, Todd Beamer and Welles Remy Crowther. Instead, they acted on instinct, based upon a foundation of values built over the course of their relatively young lives. Mark Bingham and Todd Beamer were Los Gatos High School alumni. Welles Remy Crowther was a young 24-year-old from Nyack New York who held a blossoming career on Wall Street. Each of the three only had time to react. And their reaction was to take on acts larger than themselves.
Mark Bingham and Todd Beamer were aboard United Airlines Flight 93 departing from Newark NJ and headed to San Francisco on September 11, 2001. Their plane departed the airport with terrorist hijackers on board whose plan was to transform the jet into a missile intended to take out the U.S. Capitol Building. Hijackers had already attempted to decimate America’s Wall Street financial hub and the U.S. defense system with plane crashes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The terrorists planned to use UA 93 to cripple America’s government. Mark and Todd along with two other passengers breached the cockpit to take back control. Their plane crashed into an empty field in Shanksville Pennsylvania rather than the Capitol Building. Todd’s and Mark’s actions thwarted the terrorists’ mission. In the end, thousands of Washingtonian lives were saved. Our hometown heroes – Todd Beamer and Mark Bingham, took on the first civilian counterattack to terrorist actions on 9/11. Our country’s government was preserved and intact at the expense of their own lives.
Did you know that only 18 from higher than the crash zones in the Towers survived?
They did largely due to the Man in the Red Bandana.
Back east, Welles Remy Crowther, who worked as an equity trader on the 104th floor of the South Tower in the World Trade Center, was fighting for his life. As a young boy, Welles accompanied his father and grandfather who were both volunteer firefighters to the firehouse. As a teen, Welles attended firefighting training. On 9/11 Welles put his firefighter skills to work to escape being personally trapped on the 104th floor of the South Tower. After UA Flight 175 struck the South Tower between floors 77 and 85, through flames, the thick haze of smoke, smell of airline fuel, darkness and chaos, Crowther located the one remaining passable stairway to escape. He found survivors on the 78th Sky Lobby that he escorted to safety. Then he risked his own life to go back upstairs on two more rescue missions to the 78th floor sky lobby to locate more survivors that he escorted to safety. He used a red bandana, something he carried in his back pocket from the day his father gave it to him at the age of six, to cover his mouth and nose to protect himself against smoke inhalation. He saved the only 18 survivors located higher than the crash sites from both fallen Towers at the World Trade Center, at the ultimate loss of that of his own life. The red bandana, the Welles Remy Crowther icon, became the element that identified Welles as the survivors’ rescuer months later when his remains were recovered in the rubble and company of the remains of NYFD firefighters just 65 feet from the door to personal safety.
The stories and lives of Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, Welles Remy Crowther, the first responders and those in America’s military who voluntarily answered the call in the aftermath of 9/11 will be celebrated at the “American Challenge – Lessons From 9/11” event. Distinguished guests include Francis J Harvey, 19th Secretary of the US Army, Brigadier General “Bucky” Steven J. Butow – Commander, California Air National Guard, Fire Chief Suwanna Kerdkaew- Santa Clara County Fire Department, Town of Los Gatos Mayor Rob Rennie, and Captain Doug Beck, U.S. Navy Reserve, Afghanistan & Iraq Veteran and Apple Executive. Air Force Veteran Mark Lindquist, who will be traveling to Los Gatos from behind the lines in the Ukraine, will share thoughts on lessons from 9/11 and why September 12th may have been the best day in America. The event is an outside venue, open to all and free.
The Veterans Foundation of Los Gatos is a 501(c) 3 non-profit local enterprise now in its tenth year, staffed 100% by volunteers who desire to honor, express gratitude and support those who support America’s freedom, educate the public on the sacrifices borne by those who serve, and improve the lives of veterans. Donations are accepted at honorAvet.org.