'Let's roll' has subsequently - and inevitably - become the object of a trademark dispute (along the lines of the longer, trademarked phrase 'Let's Get Ready to Rumble'). The 'Todd M. Beamer Foundation' - a non-profit organisation endorsed, but neither set up nor run, by Lisa Beamer, one which does not yet seem to have actually achieved anything - currently has the strongest legal case for using it, although over a dozen other entities have filed trademark claims for the phrase (a similar case involved a man called Michael Heiden who tried to trademark 'World Trade Center' during the afternoon of September 11th, reasoning that if Disney could trademark the words 'Pearl Harbour', what was stopping him from staking his own claim to history?).

The most obvious application for such a trademark would be either to make money from sales of branded products, such as mugs and t-shirts, or to imbue the speaker with a certain moral gravitas, just as the triumphant chords of Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' became a universal political jingle in the mid-80s. Many companies and individuals who are unconcerned with legal niceties are and have been doing just that ever since, most famously George Bush and his Republican hordes, who have been trotting it out ever since (most recently during their victory in the Congressional elections).

The legal disputes and delays have at least achieved one positive result result for the Todd Beamer Foundation; without them, it's likely that 'let's roll' will become divorced from Beamer entirely, with diastrous consequences for the Foundation, given that their major asset is these two words in this specific order.

"Let's Roll!"

This phrase was made famous by courageous United Airlines Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer, a 32-year-old Oracle Inc. executive, Sunday school teacher, husband and father who, along with Mark Bingham, Thomas Burnett, and Jeremy Glick, led other passengers in fighting terrorists for control of Flight 93, out of Newark bound for San Francisco, before it crashed into a field in western Pennsylvania, in a remote strip mine area in Stoneycreek, Somerset County, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, on September 11, 2001.

In the days following September 11, 2001, a patriotic fervor the likes of which few had ever seen gripped the United States. With "Let's Roll!" becoming a rallying cry for United States warfighters everywhere, the United States Air Force laid down a new policy regarding nose art on its aircraft. In recent years, the USAF had been very restrictive as to what sort of nose art could be applied to aircraft, and in the few years since 9-11 their policies have not changed. This was the major exception to the rule.

The nose art design depicts an eagle soaring in front of the U.S. flag, with the words "Spirit of 9-11" on the top and "Let's roll!" on the bottom. The design was created by Senior Airman Duane White, a journeyman from Air Combat Command's multimedia center at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. The Thunderbirds and other Air Force demonstration teams have applied this nose art on all aircraft, while major commands and wings were authorized to apply the nose art to one aircraft of their choice.1

The Air Force and the Army Air Corps before it have utilized nose art throughout much of their history, and for a variety of reasons.

The "Let's roll!" nose art is being used to continue the remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, spur on the nation's current patriotic spirit, and pay tribute to the heroes and victims in the war against terrorism.

1: I know of at least two USAF units that have removed the "Let's Roll!" nose art for some reason or another. I theorize that this number will increase in the future.

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