Tributes & Vigils Category: Sept 11th 2001
Todd Morgan Beamer (November 24, 1968 – September 11, 2001) was a victim of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He was a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93, and his words to a phone operator “Let’s roll” became a widespread catch phrase following the attacks.
Beamer, who resided in Cranbury, New Jersey, was an account manager for the Oracle Corporation. He died at age 32 in the September 11, 2001 attacks on board United Airlines Flight 93. He is survived by his wife, Lisa Beamer, two sons, David and Drew and a daughter, Morgan Kay, who was born on January 9, 2002 — nearly four months after her father’s death.
Todd and other passengers had been in communication with people via in-plane and cell phones and learned that the World Trade Center had been destroyed using hijacked airplanes. He had been talking with Lisa D. Jefferson, a GTE Airfone operator located in the GTE service center in Oak Brook, Illinois, for about 13 minutes (Beamer had tried to call home from an in-plane phone but reached an operator instead). Beamer and Jefferson jointly recited the Lord’s Prayer.
Though it was a widely-held belief that the passengers crashed the airliner in an attempt to save the lives of others on the ground, the 9/11 Commission’s findings (based on the “black box” cockpit recording) were that the passengers on Flight 93 did not cause the plane to crash intentionally. This was, in fact, done by the terrorists as the passengers attempted entry into the cockpit.
While the final words attributed to Todd Beamer were, according to the 9/11 Commission, “roll it” — apparently referring to a serving-cart being used as a battering ram.
The phrase “Let’s roll” was widely attributed to Beamer after his wife stated that she overheard him say those words on his cellphone. However, Lisa Beamer later admitted that she made up that phrase to make her husband appear more heroic and to generate publicity for herself.
A post office in Cranbury, New Jersey, was named after him. There is also a high school (Todd Beamer High School) in Federal Way, WA, named after Beamer. Wheaton College also has a building named after him (the Todd M. Beamer Student Center). Beamer attended Los Gatos High School, Wheaton Academy, DePaul University, California State University, Fresno and Wheaton College.
In 2003, Beamer’s widow Lisa, along with co-author Ken Abraham, wrote a book about Todd and her attempts to deal with her grief over his death, Let’s Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage . The book is about Todd and Lisa’s life before the crash and Lisa’s life after the crash.
Lisa Beamer has been subject to some controversy in the years since her husband’s death. She has been accused of trying to profit from her husband’s death after it was learned that on December 4, 2001, she applied  for a trademark on the phrase “Let’s Roll” and apparently attempted a civil action against Neil Young for his use of the phrase in his song. The Todd M. Beamer Foundation has since licensed the use of the phrase to Wal-Mart, the Florida State football team, and others .
In addition to the controversy surrounding the trademark registration, the public financial records of the non-profit Todd M. Beamer Foundation (now known as Heroic Choices)  have come under scrutiny for taking in far more money than were delivered in services. According to Heroic Choices, from 2001 through 2004 the foundation used only 53% of its proceeds to fund its programs , falling short of the Better Business Bureau’s Standards for Charity Accountibility , which state that program activity should account for at least 65% of charity expenses.