- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001

Hero's tribute
"I didn't know Mark Bingham. We met once briefly during my presidential campaign, yet I cannot say that I knew him well. But I wish I had. I regret to say, that like most candidates I was preoccupied with winning or losing. I had not thought as much as I should have about what an extraordinary honor it was to have so many citizens of the greatest nation on earth place their trust in me, and use our campaign as an expression of their own patriotism.
"I love my country, and I take pride in serving her. But I cannot say that I love her more or as well as Mark Bingham did, or the other heroes on United Flight 93 who gave their lives to prevent our enemies from inflicting an even greater injury on our country. It has been my fate to witness great courage and sacrifice for America's sake, but none greater than the selfless sacrifice of Mark Bingham and those good men who grasped the gravity of the moment, understood the threat, and decided to fight back at the cost of their lives.
"In the Gospel of John it is written 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' Such was the love that Mark and his comrades possessed, as they laid down their lives for others. A love so sublime that only God's love surpasses it."
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, in a Sept. 22 eulogy for Mark Bingham, one of the men believed to have overpowered the terrorists on the hijacked jet which crashed Sept. 11 in western Pennsylvania

'Patriot game'?
"Rep. Barbara Lee cast the House's only vote against handing over virtually unlimited war powers to one man that a whole lot of us didn't vote for. As a consequence, so many red-blooded Americans have now threatened to kill her, she has to have additional bodyguards.
"Patriotism opposes the lone representative of democracy who was brave enough to vote her conscience instead of following an angry mob. Patriotism threatens free speech with death.
"The last time I looked at a flag with unambiguous pride, I was 13. Right after that, Vietnam began teaching me lessons in ambiguity, and the lessons have kept coming. When I look at the flag, I see it illuminated by the rocket's red glare.
"This is why the warmongers so easily gain the upper hand in the patriot game: Our nation was established with a fight for independence, so our iconography grew out of war. Our national anthem celebrates it; our language of patriotism is inseparable from a battle cry.
"After 225 years, I vote to retire the rocket's red glare and the bullet wound as obsolete symbols of Old Glory."
novelist Barbara Kingsolver, writing on "And our flag was still there," in Tuesday's San Francisco Chronicle

Operatic legend
"All larger-than-life characters love myths to surround their birth. And they don't come much larger than Luciano Pavarotti.
"According to the story, when his father Fernando first took his newborn son in his arms in 1935, the child squealed with such volume that the doctor declared: 'He'll grow up to be a tenor.'
"His evident joy in performing lent itself beyond the opera stage to the mass concert, the first of which was held in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park in 1975, a venue more familiar for such West Coast flower-power bands as the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.
"Since then the outdoor spectacular has been the fat man's forte: there is scarcely a stadium or national monument which he has not graced with an aria, from the Los Angeles Olympic Stadium to Hyde Park to the Eiffel Tower to the Roman Forum. The Three Tenors, his partnership with Jos Carreras and Placido Domingo at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, was pure inspiration. Pavarotti's rendition of 'Nessun Dorma' improbably turned it into a football anthem."
from "Now he has to sing for his freedom," a profile in the Sept. 16 Sunday Times of London

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