For the twelfth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the documentary The Rugby Player premieres in New York to honor United Airlines Flight 93 hero, Mark Bingham, who was openly gay.
“The Rugby Player is an uplifting and stereotype-shattering documentary that tells the story of a mother, a son, and what it takes to be a hero,” according to the film’s website.
“The film explores the lives of Mark Bingham, one of the passengers on United Flight 93 on 9/11, and his mother, Alice Hoagland, a former United Airlines flight attendant. The film provides keen insights for the national debates on LGBT rights, marriage equality and gay athletes in sports.”
Flight 93 was the plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, when the passengers and flight crew fought the terrorists that had taken over the plane to prevent it from reaching Washington, DC.
Hoagland attended the premiere and provided a Q&A session with the filmmakers, as she wished to be “with whom I have the tragedy of 9/11 in common.”
“I wish he were alive to see our nation’s remarkably swift progress this past year in marriage equality and spousal rights,” Hoagland said in an interview with the Los Gatos Patch.
Hoagland remembers vividly Bingham calling her before the plane crashed.
“He said, ‘Mom, this is Mark Bingham. I just want to tell you that I love you. I’m on a flight from Newark to San Francisco and there are three guys on board who have taken over the plane and they say they have a bomb,’” Hoagland remembers him saying; he “most likely” saved the nation’s Capitol Building, and many lives in Washington, D.C.
Since then, Hoagland has been a busy activist in current issues like aviation security, American freedom, the LGBT community and rugby.
With a national screening tour, the film promotes American values as well as LGBT issues.
“The Rugby Player is a touching, funny and stirring portrait of how a son’s heroism can inspire a nation, and how a mother’s love can turn unfathomable loss into unshakable resolve,” the website says.
The film has received accolades as the 2013 winner of HBO’s Audience Award for Best Documentary, Connecticut’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival for Best Documentary and the Celebration of Courage Award from the Kansas City LGBT Film Festival.
The official website is here.