For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother ...(Shakespeare, Henry V)
My "Big Brother" posted 9/20/2001 12:14:13 PM
Dan Chu called returned my call Monday and asked me to contribute to this page. I would like to thank Dan and everyone else who has contributed here to this great site commemorating a truly great guy. For those like myself who are thousands of miles from Mark's other friends, this site has been a godsend in my time of grief.
I met Mark when I was a freshman at Cal during Spring Rush week. I was nervous and intimidated as many freshman probably are walking up to those houses where people are going to decide if you are cool enough to hang out with them. I was quite a dork and many would argue (probably rightly) that I still am. I can still remember the reception Mark gave me that first night, warmly shaking my hand and talking with me for hours it seemed like, later going down to the bar and drinking, inviting me to the drink-a-room party the next night. I was excited to get my bid, but even more excited when I had the opportunity to choose Mark as my "Big Brother". Mark was very much like a big brother to me and we hung out toghether a lot. I remember spending almost all of finals week that first semester playing Sega in his room and later, countless afternoons of playing basketball on the Lodge court, snatching ducks from the Berkeley aquatic park for Luau, etc. Mark was a truly special person and he made me feel special by being my friend.
The one story I would like to add, I think tells a lot about the type of guy Mark was. Mark's friends Amanda and Kylie from Australia had come to visit him over the summer and wanted to see America. They had bought some huge '70's Lincoln or Buick for what couldn't have been more than $800 and they planned to drive across the country and back with Mark. Since they didn't have a lot of money, whenever they were in a college town, they would stay over at one of the Lodge's, and when they were at a school that didn't have a Lodge, Mark would go to a random fraternity house, and explain that he was a brother from UC Berkeley and wanted to crash for the night. Only Mark could pull something like that off and I could only imagine that his "brothers" were thrilled to have him as a visitor. Along the way, Mark et.al. went through Atlanta. I guess, knowing that my parents lived there, he must have looked them up in the phonebook and somehow navigated to their suburban home. He and Amanda and Kylie stopped in and visited my parents. I remember getting the call from my folks that a big guy and a couple of girls had stopped by saying they were my friends and chatted for a while. They were surprised at first, but were quite happy to have met him. I was really touched too, that he would go out of his way just to visit my parents. After that time, he would occassionally ask how my parents were doing (as well as my brother and my other friends that he met) and he was genuinely interested to know how they were doing.
Mark was truly one of the kindest, thoughtful people I have ever met and a friend I will miss forever.
Thank you Mark.
"Mark Upon Time"
A while ago, just a time that went
I met a man of great worth,
Certainly a gent
He welcomed me into, not his house,
But a Lodge
The many within were a merry hodge podge
This man had a million smiles
He had many words that reminded me of my worth
He became my brother
He became a designated Spirit to All
Have you ever drifted so far away from Faith
That you needed a hand to keep you from drowning?
He was that man to extend a hand
So to him I give due applause...
So to him I carry his neighboring cause
His Life to me was a burning fire,
Full of vigor and vivacity
And now the fire settles for the warmth of embers,
Forever to give heat to great reminders
Of his glowing self
Yet his spark burns brighter than his fire
And I know that I will see it as it blends
Into the sky to make a star
I know that I can look there
To find his luminous 'hello'
And I will make sure to thank him
For his hospitality
I know that there is no greater gift
Than showing a Love for strangers
As he showed a Love for everyone
He was once a friend that I knew I was lucky to have
Now I know that he is also a Love
That All of us wish to feel
He is a consideration that All of us
Are in awe to find
Can I continue to have great things
To say about him?
I know that he would do the same for me
As effortlessly as a river flows downhill
I will carry that strength-
For the Faith he has always had in me
I will give it to others in turn
And I know one day
We will race together as shooting stars
In Memoriam, Mark Bingham
Dan Albracht, Delta Delta '99
September 11, 2001
San Francisco Giants
Pacific Bell Park
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, California 94107
Re: Mark Kendall Bingham and the Heroes on Flight 93
The purpose of this letter is to share with you the story of a San Francisco hero named Mark Bingham. Mark is believed to have been one of the heroes who stood up to the hijackers on Flight 93 - the flight that crashed short of its believed intended target in rural Pennsylvania. Mark sacrificed his life in the process, but we believe he, (along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick), saved the lives of countless innocent Americans with this final act of heroism. I am enclosing t-shirts his friends made up in remembrance of Mark in hopes that his heroes on the ballfield will wear them under their uniforms in honor of our hero off the ballfield.
Mark would be so excited to know that the Giants (Barry Bonds! Rich Aurilia! Jeff Kent! et al) even know who he was. He loved all sports, particularly baseball, football and rugby. An outstanding athlete himself, he was an integral member of three of Cal's National Championship rugby teams, and he followed Jeff Kent's career even closer simply because Jeff was a Cal Bear too.
In discovering Mark you've found one of the finest people to walk the earth. He was a complete person: brilliant, creative, self-made (he founded the successful San Francisco public relations firm, The Bingham Group), gregarious, loving, generous, courageous, he possessed an enormous sense of humor and an uncanny talent for mischief; he was tough, strong, determined, impervious to physical pain, a competitor who absolutely refused to lose. His football team was the Dolphins, and having grown up in the bay area, his baseball team (in spite of his dual residence in San Francisco and New York) was the Giants. We debated their relative merits and deficiencies often, and he was following the teams' success closely. Indeed, we spent an hour this summer debating whether Barry Bonds would hit 71 home runs. I argued he would not because pitchers won't pitch to him; and Mark believes he will because "Barry can hit anything (inside, outside, high, low) out of the ballpark."
I've also sent some photos (via email) of Mark from a trip we took together to Europe this summer. I think he would be particularly excited to see the Pamplona photo displayed on the big screen. This photo was taken July 12, 2001 the evening after Mark, Jay and myself ran with the bulls for the first time (at left is Jason Escamilla, Mark is in the middle, and I am to the right). Mark ran with the bulls again two days later, and was hooked, thrown and stomped on by a bull - and then got up, dusted himself off and ordered a beer. I suspect the terrorists who hijacked Flight 93 regret ever crossing Mark's path.
Tonight, when the team is observing a moment of silence, please ask them to think about Mark, a true hero, and those he left behind: his amazing mother Alice Hoglan, Aunt Kathy, Uncle Vaughn, and his closest friends, Amanda, Cameron, Damon, Todd and Dave.
You didn't have to know Mark to see that he squeezed every drop out of life. He loved his family and friends, and was loved by more people than I've ever even known. May we all carry forward with Mark's spirit, determination and love for life. Oh, and Go Giants!
Spencer H. Kelly
p.s. A "Mark Bingham Memorial Fund" has been set up in Mark's honor. Those wishing to contribute may find information on the fund, and much more information on Mark's life, at www.markbingham.org.
From: "Joseph Salama"
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:41 PM
OK, so there we were on the 50-yard line. I was a freshman at Cal,
fall of '89, at one of my first football games. Romero & I had snuck
in enough booze in one 96-oz orange juice container to get 20 or so
Lodgers (fraternity Brothers) really loaded. The stuff was about 93%
vodka and about 7% orange juice. Just enough to color it a bit. It
was gnarly, but after two swigs, it tasted great.
We were playing Wisconsin, and we were not entirely winning. Every
time the other team scored, the Wisconsin Badger would come over to
our side of the field, and rub his butt in our faces. This happened a
few times. Mark was on my left, and we started really getting annoyed
by the Badger. Mark started getting pissed, as we all did, and said
something to the effect of "We should go down there and kick his ass!"
I was new to this whole football game experience, and was definitely
pissed as well. I thought I heard him say "Let's go!" but I wasn't
sure. We were all quite hammered by then. I looked over at Mark, but
he was not there.
Next thing I know, Bingham was running down the bleachers, determined
to beat the crap out of the Badger. He thought all of us were right
behind him. We weren't, and before I could point that fact out to
him, he was on the field running toward the Badger in the middle of
the Cal Memorial Stadium.
What a sight.
Then three security guys came out of nowhere and tackled Mark a few
feet shy of his goal, and he got carried away.
I was pretty devastated, thinking that somehow I had let him down,
thinking he would get kicked out of school or something.
I did not know that we had a Lodger Alum who was head of Campus
police, who knew Mark quite well. And I did not know that Mark would
get arrested again at something like 3 of the next 5 home games. In
retrospect, it was one of the funniest things I had ever seen in my
life. Pretty Classic Bingham, starting the revolution.
He was awarded the Senior Award at the next Monday night meeting for
the most heinous behavior. A very coveted and competitive award that
he earned frequently.
I just saw the 10pm news out here in Marin, where they interviewed
Alice, his mom. I mentioned to Liz earlier today that it would not
have been out of character for Mark to have intervened in on the
plans of the hijackers, however unlikely. Alice suggested the same
thing in her interview.
The interview was well done. They portrayed him as a loving man &
successful businessman. They had pictures of him with his niece. They
also showed a picture of him wearing a glad bag flexing his arms.
Mark would have totally LOVED that photo being shown. There was
another great picture of him playing the drums in his backyard.
As you send stories, please use the most recent incoming message's
recipient list so no one gets left out.
Joe suggested that we all tell a story about Mark to remember him, so I
wanted to send mine. My story is from last year (2000) on November 18th. My
birthday was on the 16th, so I organized a birthday/house-warming party on
Saturday the 18th at the apartment I was living in at the time in San
Francisco. Unfortunately this was the same day that Jeff Stayman was in
town and had his party at his old pad with his old roommates. Many lodgers
showed up to my party, one of them was Mark Bingham. He came with his usual fun
attitude and spirit. He showed up with 2 large bottles of Yager Meister
(sp?). He claimed that 1 bottle was for my party and the second was for
Stayman's party, to where he would go after my party. Mark was the life of
the party. He went around the whole party making every single person take
shots of Yager, even the non-drinkers. As you know, it's hard to turn Mark
down when he is holding a bottle of Yager in your face.... Of course, we
all got really drunk, no surprise. Mark and everyone else had a blast, and, as
could have been expected, we ended up going through both bottles of Yager
(sorry Jeff....). Mark was fun, and all the new friends he met that night
loved him. I don't even remember the end of the evening, I was in
auto-pilot, but I guess at some point, Mark did make it over to Jeff's
party somehow... I'm not sure if he bought another bottle of Yager or not, but
I'm glad he went over the Jeff's party before booting....
FROM JULES IN FRANCE:
My words cannot express the sorrow I feel. I'm in
France right now. French TV has been playing not only
parts of Mark's mom's interview, but also been showing
several pictures of Mark himself, every half hour, all
afternoon and night.
I'm shacken by Brother Bingham tragic passing, and
also all of us here are shocked in general. Flags
have been taken down and friday will be a national
mourning day in all of the European Union.
I regret I won't be able to attend the Lodge service
this week-end. My prayers are with Mark, his family,
and all of you.
Julien Mailland ' 98
My favorite Mark Bingham story....
It was about 6 years ago on the occasion of our friend Mike's birthday
celebration. Mark, Paul, Mike and I had gone to Mecca on Market St. in SF
to consume a great meal and to drink lots of wine and various other
spirits... Mike's one birthday wish was for some big drag-queens to serve
him champagne for his birthday... Being the shy guy that he was, Mark
spotted two 6'2" "girls" at the bar and promptly brought them over to our
table for drinks, complete with a bottle of champagne as Mike wished...
Somehow the girls got distracted and left our table momentarily... Mark
spotted one of their purses on the table, promptly opened it and found a
camera inside... Mark got this very mischievous look on his face...
He handed the camera to Paul and proceeded to stand up across the table,
dropped his pants and promptly bent over and mooned the entire crowded
restaurant with his bare ass as Paul took his picture... We roared with
laughter.... Mark then pulled up his pants, sat back down and proceeded to
slip the camera back into the purse of the unsuspecting drag queens... The
rest of the night was a blur as the drinking and craziness continued...
By best memory of Mark was one Christmas that Amanda, Cath & I spent with
his family in 1989 (All those years ago).
I remember feeling so comfortable & homey being in the company of such
caring people. They had taken us 3 Aussies girls into their
home for what was our first Christmas ever away from our families & made us
feel so welcome. We had such a laugh, the green jelly coleslaw, jokes about
Marks Auntie putting on her face & me flushing the toilet & it flooding the
bathroom!! I remember the card Mark had made especially for his MOM - it
was easy to see how much he loved her.
There are many memories I have of Mark & lots of pictures that will remain
precious & a reminder of a person who as you all know lived life to the
fullest. Remember never to save anything for a special occasion as everyday
of our lives is a special occasion.
I will miss you gig smile Mark - it was a pleasure to have known you.
FROM KELLY PRICHARD:
I am heartbroken, saddened, angry, in a lot of pain as are you all.
What a magnificent amount of support everyone is showing for eachother all over the country and world.
I take solace in knowing that Mark is above us looking down. He has joined all the other loved ones we know who have passed on. Certainly he is organizing a big ole party and hanging out with his new pals feeling a sense of peace and tranquility.
I have never taken spanish so please forgive my inability to spell this correctly...but for those of you who were on the spanish/french tour this summer you know this song well...
"chiare bylar buena noche" a song that Mark sang over and over again even for weeks after our trip as he snapped his fingers and bounced up and down. It would bring a smile to our faces...
Good Night sweet Markus...may you rest and party and laugh in peace!
more info About Our Heroic Chi Psi Gentleman to come very very soon!