David Beamer - father of Todd Beamer, the United Airlines passenger who famously vowed "Let's Roll" before he charged and fought terrorists on Sept. 11 - is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at two Veterans Day events this week.
Not only will Beamer address an assembly of veterans at Thursday evening's "Operation: Bugle Boy" program, he is scheduled to keynote a program called "Flight 93 and the American Spirit" on Friday afternoon.
Although tickets for Thursday's Thankgiving-style dinner program are reserved for area veterans and their guests - and they have all been distributed - Friday's speakers event is open to the public.
It is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Concord Baptist Church, 3724 W. Truman Blvd.
In past years, "Operation: Bugle Boy" has been closely affiliated with the Jefferson City High School Ambassador Club's Veterans' Appreciation Night. "But this year, we're involving all high schools," said organizer Chris Jarboe.
Jarboe is hopeful the larger community will be willing to line the route Thursday evening from the Candlewood Suites hotel - where several of the honored guests are staying - to the St. Martins Knights of Columbia Hall where the veterans will congregate and dine. The optimal time to line up will be between 4:15 and 4:45 p.m., he said.
"Wave "em if you have "em," Jarboe said. "We're asking that people come out and please wave flags along Amazonas Drive through Apache Flats. It's an opportunity for the community to show their respect to the men and women who have preserved their freedoms."
Jarboe noted his group is thrilled David Beamer has agreed to spend two full days in the Jefferson City area so veterans and the general public can hear his story.
Beamer's son, Todd Beamer, was a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93 when terrorists hijacked the plane on Sept. 11, 2001. Beamer, other passengers and the crew attempted to foil the hijacking and reclaim the aircraft, but it crashed into a field near Shanksville, Penn. Although the hijacker's target isn't fully known, the passenger of Flight 93 are widely regarded as heroes for saving many other lives in the U.S. Capitol Building or the White House.
"Mr. Beamer was very gracious to stay for two days," Jarboe said, adding he's hopeful that people will choose to attend Friday afternoon's event. He noted with seating for 800 people, Concord Church will be able to accommodate a large crowd.
Others speakers on Friday include Maj. Dale Schmidt of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who will welcome visitors, and Matt Schofield of Missouri Task Force One, who will talk about his 9/11 search-and-rescue missions.
Jarboe said his group wanted to honor veterans, but they also wanted to acknowledge the contributions of first responders.
Other honorary guests this week are Marine Corps Sgt. David Castillo and Navy Corpsman Jesse Miller, who have been deployed on the USS Green Bay. Both men helped save the life of Marine Tyler Huffman during combat operations in Afghanistan. Huffman is a resident of Jefferson City who was wounded by a sniper bullet in 2010.
The three men are expected to reunite at Thursday evening's "Operation: Bugle Boy" event and discuss their shared experiences on Friday.