alice-hoagland,-gay-rugby-godmother-and-9/11-activist,-dies

Alice Hoagland, a precious figure of the gay rugby movement that her own boy, Mark Bingham, helped set in movement soon before he perished in the 2001 terrorist attacks as one of the heroes of Flight 93, has died. She was 71.

Hoagland, a former flight attendant who became a safety activist while carrying on her son’s athletic tradition, died Dec. 22 in her sleep at her house in Los Gallos, California, after fighting Addison’s disease, according to long time family friend Amanda Mark.

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International Gay Rugby– an organization that traces its roots to one group in London in 1995 and now consists of about 90 clubs in more than 20 nations on five continents– held Hoagland in such esteem that one of the rewards at its biennial Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Competition, or the Bingham Cup, is called the Hoagland Cup.

Scott Glaessgen, of Norwalk, Connecticut, a buddy of Bingham’s who assisted arrange New York’s Gotham Knights rugby club, explained satisfying Hoagland at the first Bingham Cup in 2002 in San Francisco.

” Nine months after Mark was eliminated, and there she is with a relentless smile on her face, simply charming and engaging and happy and happy,” Glaessgen said. “And that durability and that strength that she simply radiated was truly inspiring.”

Amanda Mark, of Sydney, Australia, praised Hoagland for constantly defending individuals– and continuing to do so after losing her kid by standing up for air travel safety and LGBT rights.

” Through the Bingham Cup,” Mark said, “she became the motivation and the acceptance that a great deal of LGBT folks needed when they might have been challenged with their families or friends to be real to themselves.”

Bingham, 31 when he passed away, had played on a champion rugby group at the University of California, Berkeley. He helped organize the gay San Francisco Fog group in 2000 and rapidly became its primary forward.

He was on United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers commandeered it. He called his mom and told her he liked her.

” I only got 3 minutes with him and when I tried to call back, I could not make it through,” Hoagland told the Iowa City Press-Citizen in2019 “As a flight attendant for 20 years, I wanted to inform him to take a seat and don’t draw attention to yourself.”

But the 6-foot-5, 220- pound Bingham fought back, posthumously winning praise as an openly gay patriot who joined other travelers in foiling the hijackers and causing the aircraft to crash in rural Pennsylvania rather of its designated target, believed to be the U.S. Capitol.

” He grew from a shy, chubby kid into a tall rugby rival with the capability to amass his energy to deal with a real opponent in the cockpit of an airplane,” Hoagland informed the Press-Citizen.

Bingham and Hoagland’s stories went on to be narrated in film and screen, consisting of the TELEVISION film “Flight 93,” HBO’s “Genuine Sports with Bryant Gumbel” and the documentary “The Rugby Gamer.” Hoagland became a supporter for airline company security and for allowing relatives of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia over claims it contributed in the attacks.

” We’re less thinking about any kind of financial gain than we remain in bringing the genuinely guilty into court and making our case understood,” Hoagland told The Associated Press in 2016.

The very first Bingham Cup included 8 teams and was hosted by its namesake’s home group. Today, it is billed as the world’s biggest amateur rugby event, and cities bid to host it. It was last kept in Amsterdam in 2018 with 74 teams competing.

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Hoagland was a star at every competition she went to. Gamers flocked to fulfill her and have a photo taken. She always required.

Jeff Wilson, of International Gay Rugby, remembered in a post on the organization’s Facebook page a conversation with Hoagland at the 2012 Bingham Cup in Manchester, England. His mom had just recently died.

” I asked how she continued throughout grief– she stated it was a purpose, and a calling and that I would keep going due to the fact that it drove me,” he wrote. “Her empathy, heart and focus on others touched me in ways that I can not express.”

No funeral is yet planned.

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