Wheaton Christian students remember Todd Beamer
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Students at Wheaton Christian Grammar School in Winfield will remember 1983 alum Todd Beamer on Friday. Beamer was among those aboard United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001.
Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer
Most students at Wheaton Christian Grammar School don't remember the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and for good reason: they were not yet born.
But that doesn't stop the school's leaders from commemorating the anniversary each year. They say the sacrifice shown by passengers on United Flight 93 serves as an instructional story for the private school students.
"Especially in this day and age, when our kids confuse celebrity with real heroes, it's important for them to see what a real hero is," Principal Mike Rogers said.
Among those heroes was then 32-year-old Todd Beamer, a 1983 alum of Wheaton Christian. On Friday, the school will commemorate Patriot Day by having students read from the Bible and pray over the public address system.
The readings are no different from other years, school officials say, because they don't feel the 10th anniversary of the attacks is something to overplay.
However, they still want students to remember Beamer.
Beamer famously uttered the phrase, "Let's roll" as he and other passengers mobilized to overtake hijackers on that flight.
During the struggle, the plane crashed in an open field near Shanksville, Pa., instantly killing the passengers, crew and terrorists. It has been speculated the plane was headed toward the White House.
Rogers said the changes brought on by the attacks, including more screenings at airports, have become a necessary measure.
"It certainly caused a major disruption to our way of life," Rogers said. "I don't see us going back to the way things used to be and it's unfortunate ... You can grumble all you want but it is certainly better than the alternative."
In the weeks following the attacks, it was revealed Beamer recited the Lord's Prayer on the phone with an operator before the passengers tried to overpower the terrorists. Assistant Principal Roger Burgess said that action helped get Beamer through the ordeal.
"For Todd, he was prepared to meet God," Burgess said. "He committed his life to the Lord. He didn't have to worry about confessing or praying. He had already done that."
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