Mark Bingham Memorial

Friends, families and neighbors gathered and celebrated the life of Mark Bingham on Saturday, December 15th at the Redwood Estates Pavilion. Mark’s mother, Alice Hoglan, shared some special memories and some funny stories about Mark. June Sythe, Mark’s eighth grade teacher also spoke fondly of him. The dedication of the flag began with the National Anthem, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Patty Rossetti read the inscription from the granite plaque that will be placed at the base of the flagpole. It says, “Dedicated to the memory of Mark Bingham and all the souls whose lives were lost or changed on September 11th, 2001.”

Karen Johnson spoke briefly about how the memorial project was started. Her classmate from High School, Kevin Rux, was killed last year on the U.S.S. Cole. She was able to go home to North Dakota for his memorial service, but always wished she could do more somehow. When she found out that her neighbor had lost her son on September 11th, she felt compelled to do something even though she did not know Alice or Mark. She came up with the idea of making Patriotic pins and bracelets to sell to raise the money for the memorial and Patty Rossetti helped her chair the project. The two of them raised nearly $2500.00. Karen thanked Patty for helping her accomplish her goal. Patty was able to find Cypress Granite to do the granite plaque and bench. All of the engraving on the bench was donated, which would have cost considerably more. Patty also took care of installing the flag and flagpole. Alice then thanked Karen and Patty for their kindness and hard work on this project. She said it meant so much that her neighbors would honor her son and all the others that were lost on that day.

The group then moved to the granite bench. Alice’s friend and long-time Redwood Estates resident, Lou Calvert, read the following inspirational piece in honor of Mark. “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any human, let me do it now. Let me not deter it, for I shall not pass this way again.” He then read the inscription that is engraved on the granite bench. “Mark Bingham May 22, 1970- September 11th, 2001 Mark made his home in Redwood Estates from 1983-1988. As a teenager, he grew up among the redwoods, loved by his friends and neighbors here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Mark lost his life while helping defend America from a terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001. Redwood Estates honors his memory.” The bench has beautiful engraved art including an American flag and Redwood trees. The sides of the bench also have artwork depicting Mark’s love for sports like rugby and basketball.

After the formal ceremony, there was a potluck supper inside the pavilion with a cake for dessert that was decorated like an American flag. There was music to enjoy by the Loma Prieta Rockers. The room was decorated with a patriotic theme, including a Christmas tree with red, white, and blue ornaments. Alice was given a patriotic print from the Redwood Estates Community Club. Karen will also be presenting her with a framed and signed “Light of Freedom” print by Thomas Kinkade. It is being donated by Media Arts Group, which handles his works. Karen contacted them to ask for the donation because she wanted Alice to have something special to remember her son that she could display in her home. This was the piece that Kinkade made after the events of September 11th. It depicts the New York skyline at sunset with an American flag in the foreground. The proceeds from the sales of the print are being donated to the Salvation Army. At the conclusion of the evening, Karen and Patty thanked all who came and those who helped with the event. They expressed that we will never forget those lost on September 11th, and we need to continue to be supportive to all who have lost someone close to them.

If you have any questions about this memorial or would like to make a donation, please e-mail Karen Johnson at the following address: