By People Staff
Updated December 31, 2001 12:00 PM

A young mother recently widowed, with another child on the way—it’s hard to imagine a more poignant description of vulnerability. Yet in the case of Lisa Beamer, 32, something like the opposite applies. Instead of crumbling when her husband, software salesman Todd Beamer, 32, died on Sept. 11 after apparently helping to overpower hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 93—and rallying passengers with his now famous phrase, “Let’s roll”—Lisa has emerged as a symbol of national strength. During polished appearances on shows like Oprah and Today, she spoke eloquently of the need to move on in life without hatred. On Sept. 20, at the nation’s Capitol, she received a presidential tribute during George Bush’s globally televised address on the War on Terror.

Just over a month after her husband’s death, Beamer summoned the courage to board the same Newark-San Francisco flight on which he had perished, telling reporters, “I won’t be held captive by fear.” These days she faces a more daunting challenge. Now in her ninth month of pregnancy, Beamer will soon bring home a new child (whose sex she doesn’t yet know) to the four-bedroom dream house she shared with Todd—they met during senior year at Wheaton College in Illinois—and their sons David, 3, and Drew, 22 months. “It’s the one thing I’m afraid of doing alone,” she tearfully admits. And yet, as countless fans who have come to know Beamer will agree, she will surely prevail. “You’ve given a lot of people a lot of hope,” CNN’s Larry King told her recently. “You’re an extraordinary lady, Lisa.”