Friday, September 16, 2011

Let's Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage by Lisa Beamer with Ken Abraham

Lisa Beamer's recounting of her heroic husband's life, and how his sacrifice on September 11th has turned into a source of strength for her, is a tribute that will move and inspire readers all over the world. This bestselling book has also inspired a companion CD, Let's Roll!, filled with powerful, relevant performances. Proceeds from the CD go to the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, which helps children affected by September 11th.

I know my post is late this week (it was supposed to be yesterday), but this was a tough book for me to get through.

My oldest child was born on September 11th (not in 2001), and ever since then I've kind of shied away from anything and everything that has to do with the tragedy of that day. Not because I want to forget, but simply because I don't want sadness to overshadow my child's special day. This year, with it being the 10 year anniversary, there has been a lot of media coverage about "9/11". As I talked with a friend about it, she mentioned this book to me. I've never read books like this. Ever. Even before I got on my "Young Adult kick", I never read "true stories." But then as I debated about whether or not to read this, I had the thought that the better I understand what happened that day, the more prepared I will be to talk about it with my "9/11" child when the time comes. So, I put aside all my reservations and checked it out from the library.

Now, if you are not familiar United Flight 93 (I had actually forgotten about it), it was one of the four planes that was hijacked on September 11, 2001. The hijackers re-routed the flight that had originally been set for San Francisco and headed instead for Washington D.C.. The passengers aboard Flight 93 were able to use their cell phones and the phones available on the plane (Airfones) to contact loved ones. As they began to hear news of hijacked planes hitting the World Trade Center in New York and also one that had hit the Pentagon, the passengers decided to try to overtake the hijackers. The plane crashed in Pennsylvania and disintegrated.

Todd Beamer was on that flight. In the final 20 minutes or so of his life, he was on the phone with an Airfone operator named Lisa Jefferson. He spoke to her about what was happening aboard the plane, and also talked about his family and his faith. As news began to pour in aboard the plane about the other terrorist attacks, Todd Beamer, along with other passengers, was instrumental in formulating and carrying out a plan to overtake the plane from the hijackers. The last words Lisa Jefferson heard Todd Beamer say were, "Are you guys ready? Okay. Let's roll."

This book is by Todd Beamer's widow, Lisa Beamer. The book spans Todd and Lisa's childhoods, when they met, and the few short years they were married. Only, maybe, the last 100 pages or so are about Todd's final flight and the aftermath of that day. It was an inspiring book though. I would be curious to know about Lisa Beamer and her and Todd's children now, 10 years later. I'm kicking myself for not watching ANYTHING on September 11th this year.

One quote from the book that I really thought was inspiring:

"Slowly I began to understand that the plans God has for us don’t just include “good” things, but the whole array of human events … I remember my mom saying that many people look for miracles — things that in their human minds “fix” a difficult situation. Many miracles, however, are not a change to the normal course of human events; they’re found in God’s ability and desire to sustain and nurture people through even the worst situations. Somewhere along the way, I stopped demanding that God fix the problems in my life and started to be thankful for his presence as I endured them." (p. 68, emphasis added)

Anyway, I know that this isn't the type of book that I normally post about on R4R, but it was a great reminder that there were many people on that tragic day who had the choice to do SOMETHING, or do NOTHING. The people on United Flight 93, who are often overlooked or forgotten, chose to ACT and by doing so, most likely prevented an even greater loss of life that day. I am thankful for their courage and thankful for the faith of Lisa Beamer in the wake of a horrifying personal and national tragedy.

Happy Reading!


Jamie VanBeekum said...

Thanks for the review on this. I'm adding it to my read list now! I think those guys on 93 were absolute heroes and am thankful for their courage.

Megan @ Reading for Refuge said...

Me too, Jamie. Me too. It was a very touching read.