Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Flight 93 Memorial

Thursday - September 6, 2012 - - The small town of Shanksville, a few miles south of U.S. 30 in the rolling 'hills' of central Pennsylvania, made headline news eleven years ago on 9/11. In the midst of so much confusion, disbelief, and all of the horror of that day a group of courageous people stood up and prevented what could have been an even greater disaster.

Knowing that their lives were likely already lost, they forced the plane down before it could do further damage to our nation. To them we will be eternally grateful and for them and their families this memorial has been created on the site of their deaths to honor and remember them. It is a very simple memorial but very moving and profound at the same time.

Exhibits depicting the events on the site on 9/11/2001 are displayed in the front 'courtyard' and the entrance to the Memorial area is along a long walkway through a portal. The black, sloping wall along the left side extending into the background marks the northern boundary of the greater crash site.

The walkway extends about a quarter mile to the wall of names, shown in the background.

Within the wall are several niches where visitors can leave mementos of remembrance, if desired.

At the end of the bordering wall and to the left of the wall of names is a gate.

Beyond the gate, off in the distance, is a boulder marking the location of the crater and the approximate location of the impact site. After the crash investigation was complete, the crater was filled in. The remains of the flight crew and passengers are buried in a small cemetery just beyond the boulder. I believe this area is off limits except to family members.

The wall of names begins to the right of the gate. The names are engraved on individual panels and are listed in alphabetical order. Family members and friends sometimes leave memorial bouquets as shown in front of the memorial for Lorraine G. Bay. to the right of her is the memorial to Todd M. Beamer.

There are 40 panels inscribed with the names of the flight crew and passengers who died in the crash. We remember few of their names individually, but we will always remember them collectively.

The wall of names approximately follows the direction of the flight path... on top of the hill to the far right there was a huge tent. They were preparing for ceremonies to take place on 9/11, just five days after my visit.

The memorial is still a work in progress, but a diagram of the completed area can be viewed on the National Park Service Flight 93 Memorial Website.

1 comment:

Michelle Goodrum said...

Thank you for sharing. I wasn't aware of exactly what had been done at the crash site. After all this time (and it still seems like yesterday), it brings tears to my eyes when I think about what that group of people did for this country.