At Todd Beamer High School, they remember.
The Federal Way school’s youngest students weren’t born when the man for whom their school is named became part of American history.
Beamer was a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93, seized by hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001. He and other passengers and crew tried to take back control of the plane, which officials later surmised was headed toward Washington, D.C., and possibly the White House.
Beamer was overheard by telephone, as the passenger-led takeover was launched, telling the group, “Are you ready? OK. Let’s roll.”
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They struggled in vain for control of the aircraft, but managed to veer it off its target. Instead, Flight 93 crashed in a Pennsylvania field, killing all aboard.
Beamer’s last words became a rallying cry and a symbol of American bravery after 9/11.
In 2002, the Federal Way School Board voted to name its newest high school, set to open in 2003, after the previously unknown software account manager.
Todd Beamer’s last words on 9/11
There was some discussion about whether it was the right move.
Some wondered whether Beamer’s name would soon fade from history and whether other, better-known Americans — suggestions ranged from explorers Lewis and Clark to Red Cross founder Clara Barton — would be a better pick.
But current Principal Joni Hall says students at the time helped push for the name. Years later, she encountered a student who was on the naming committee.
The young woman told Hall, “It was very important to me.”
“The kids understood the reason behind the name at the time,” she said, and most still do.
Today, the school works to keep the lessons of Flight 93 alive — standing up for what you believe, doing the right thing.
Football players wear No. 93 on their helmets. Each year, near the anniversary of 9/11, the school’s award-winning Air Force ROTC unit plans and leads a ceremony of remembrance for the school, where enrollment this year tops 1,700.
On the 10-year anniversary of the attacks, a large ceremony included local government officials and firefighters.
A beam from the wreckage in New York was displayed, along with a flag embellished with the names of 9/11 victims.
There’s a stone monument to Beamer in the school courtyard near the flagpole and a tribute wall in the main foyer. Both were Eagle Scout projects of Beamer students.
“He is part of the culture of this school,” Hall said of the school’s namesake. “It speaks to the heroism he represents.”
Remembrance Day at Todd Beamer
A student-led ceremony of remembrance for the victims and heroes of 9/11 will be held Tuesday at Todd Beamer High School, 35999 16th Ave. S., Federal Way.
The public should arrive by 8 a.m. to park and get to the venue, at the school’s front entrance. The ceremony will begin at 8:15 a.m.