Widow of hijack victim retraces his route

Saturday, October 20, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO -- Lisa Beamer on Friday retraced the route her late husband would have taken Sept. 11, when his hijacked plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field.

Beamer made the Newark, N.J., to San Francisco flight to make a statement against fear and to seek donations for the Todd M. Beamer Foundation.

"I want to show people it's safe to get back on an airplane," Beamer said shortly before she boarded. "We can't let ourselves be held captive by terrorism."

Her husband, Todd, 32, was one of several passengers aboard United Flight 93 who made phone calls to relatives or authorities, alerting them that a hijacking was taking place and making plans to fight back. He ended his conversation with a GTE operator by dropping his phone and saying, "Let's roll."

Shortly afterward, the plane crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pa., killing all 44 on board. Authorities say it was headed toward Washington, D.C.

The foundation will provide assistance to the 22 children who lost parents on United Airlines Flight 93, though Beamer's family will not receive assistance from the fund. The fund primarily will provide health insurance, mental health support and financial planning services.

"We as individuals do have an important role and responsibility in protecting ourselves and protecting other people," she said at San Francisco International Airport.

Beamer, who is expecting the couple's third child, was greeted by about 15 United employees when she arrived at the airport.

"I'm definitely dealing with grief and loss, and I'm really looking ahead," she said. "I think the flight today was more looking ahead."

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