Since 1841, Chi Psis have made their mark on our nation’s history. And while the experiences and influences of our many nationally-recognizable Brothers vary, we are always proud when one of us makes a difference for others. The time has come for us to recognize one of these Brothers…a national hero who took a stand in one of our country’s darkest hours.
On May 20, 1989 Mark Bingham was initiated into Chi Psi at Alpha Delta Delta at University of California. As an undergraduate, Mark served as #1 and represented his Alpha at the Sesquicentennial Convention in 1991. In speaking to those closest to him in school, you find that Br. Bingham was a fierce competitor, loyal friend, and dedicated Brother with a huge capacity to love. He was the leading spirit of his Alpha, who brought joy through friendship to many. His rare gift of making everyone he talked with feel like the center of the universe made everyone he liked feel like one of his closest friends.
It is widely believed that Mark Bingham and three other men confronted the terrorists on United Flight 93 on the morning of September 11, 2001 and that their heroic actions brought the plane down before it could hit its intended target. This news did not come as a surprise to Mark’s family and those that knew him best. From their perspective, there would have been no question in Mark’s mind what he would do in that situation.
Over the past nine years, Mark has been remembered and honored in many ways. Some of these include the following:
- The California Alumni Association of the University of California, Berkeley annually awards the outstanding achievement of a young alumnus or alumna with the Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement at its Charter Gala each spring.
- The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament (Bingham Cup), a biannual international rugby union competition predominantly for gay and bisexual men, was established in 2002 in his memory.
- Br. Bingham was posthumously awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2002.
There is a glaring omission to the list above. Mark Kendall Bingham, ΔΔ ’93, is a national hero and part of the fabric of Chi Psi. By all accounts he is the personification of the Fraternity’s ideals. These realities should be reflected in the Fraternity’s written history and standard operation. Last month, I asked my fellow members of the Executive Council to call upon the 170th Annual Convention, meeting August 3-7 in Ann Arbor, MI, to institute a fitting and meaningful way to accomplish this. I also asked Alpha Delta Delta Brothers to take a lead role in this effort.
Let us not let September 11, 2011 arrive without this important work accomplished. If you have an interest in helping the Fraternity shape an appropriate recognition for Brother Bingham, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#23, Executive Director
Chi Psi Fraternity