Mark Bingham became a hero when he and three other men thwarted a terrorist plot on 9/11 to crash a fourth plane into a building in Washington, D.C., possibly the White House.

The gay man who founded his own public relations company, the Bingham Group, was only 31 when he boarded United Airlines flight 93 on September 11, 2011 on his way home to San Francisco from New Jersey.

When the Boeing 757 was hijacked as it flew over Ohio, Bingham, along with Todd Beamer, Tom Burnett and Jeremy Glick decided to act. At least eight other people joined them in storming the cockpit in an attempt to take back the plane from the terrorists who were armed and had already killed the pilot and co-pilot. The plan resulted in the plane crashing into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Alice Hoagland, Bingham's mother, described her son as outgoing, smart and “extremely popular.”

In an interview with gay glossy The Advocate, Hoagland recalled her son's coming out.

“I was really astounded [when he told me]. I hadn't any idea that my son was gay, and up until that time I had been vaguely anti-gay,” she told the magazine. “So with those words, I began a journey.”

Paul Holm, a former boyfriend, described the six years he spent with Bingham as “intense and wonderful.”

“We did everything from sitting in front of the TV watching football to traveling to France one or twice a year,” Holm said.

Bingham called his mother from the plane and told her he loved her.

Bingham's name and those of the other passengers aboard Flight 93 are listed at the National September 11 Memorial located at the World Trade Center site where the Twin Towers destroyed on 9/11 once stood.