Tag Archives: 9/11

“Hero Widow”: The Making of Lisa Beamer’s 9/11 Celebrity

“You’ve become it,” Larry King advised the woman he was hosting on his nationally syndicated talk show, for the seventh time in six months. Seconding the opinion of a caller who had referred to her as “the spokesperson across America for all the World Trade Center […] and plane victims,” King would permit no polite demurrals from his guest: “By choice or not, you’re it” (Larry King Live, 22 Feb. 2002). “It” by that moment, early in 2002, Lisa Beamer surely had become: if not exactly the “spokesperson,” the preeminent witness to the trauma of 9/11 and the event’s most widely recognized celebrity. Wife of the man whose call “Let’s roll!” helped rally fellow passengers to action on a hijacked flight above Pennsylvania, five months pregnant at the time of her loss, Beamer came to be known as the “hero widow.”

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The current edition of the American Studies Journal has its roots in the Third U.S. Embassy Teacher Academy which took place in the fall of 2005 in Bad Kreuznach. The conference was jointly organized by the U.S. Embassy, the American Studies Department of Mainz University and the Atlantische Akademie Rheinland Pfalz. It focused on “Arab American Literature and Culture” and thus a minority that drew a lot of attention in the U.S. and abroad after the tragic events of September 11.

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