Thursday, March 21, 2013

flight 93 national memorial, shanksville pa

On Tuesday, we drove to Shanksville to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial. It was sobering and surreal that such a horror happened here in beautiful rural Pennsylvania.

This marker says “September 11, 2001: The distant Laurel Mountains are outlined against a cloudless, blue sky. The weather is mild, but few people are outdoors. Many sit stunned and horrified in front of their televisions, watching the World Trade Center and Pentagon burn. America is under attack. Terrorists are using hijacked planes as missiles to destroy symbols of power. People in this are feel safe, relieved to be far from any terrorist target. Shortly after 10:00 am, a large aircraft just clears the mountain ridge before you, traveling far too low. Its engines roar as it passes over the cluster of homes in Lambertsville, in front of you, wings rocking from side to side. It flies nearly overhead and disappears over the rise behind you.”

The photo on the sign above was taken 15 miles away, just minutes after the crash. The sign explains that this was the 4th plane hijacked on September 11th, and nearly 3,000 people died from the terrorist attacks on that day.
”Alerted to the events at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the forty unarmed passengers and crew of Flight 93 take quick and determined action. Their revolt prevents Flight 93 from reaching the terrorists’ intended target. Evidence later reveals that the target is most likely the US Capitol, where the Senate and House of Representatives are in session. Flight 93 crashes less than 20 minutes flying-time from Washington D.C.”

This board explains that Flight 93 was nonstop from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, California. There were seven crew members, thirty-three normal passengers, and four hijackers. The flight was delayed 25 minutes due to high air traffic that morning. Four minutes after the plane took flight, the World Trade Center was hit. After 46 minutes of flying, the terrorists took over the plane, and turned it around over Cleveland, Ohio. About 35 minutes later (at 10:03 am), the plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field at 563 miles per hour.

This sign says that when a terrorist on-board claimed to have a bomb strapped to his waist, the crew and passengers were forced to the back of the plane. They called family members, who informed them of the three planes that had already crashed. They took a vote and decided to fight back. They rushed forward toward the cockpit, and the cockpit voice recorder captured their shouts, screams, and breaking glassware. One terrorist yelled to pull the plane down, and the plane turned upside down and crashed, disintegrating into the ground.

The bottom photo on the sign shows the largest piece of the plane recovered: 6 feet by 7 feet. They excavated the crater—recovering evidence and remains. Excavation reached 40 feet down, at which point debris was no longer found.

“Here in Shanksville, people from across the United States join together to create a national memorial—a permanent tribute to the extraordinary courage of 40 ordinary people. The serene fields, wooded groves, and rolling hills that bore witness to such violence, are now a lasting testament to the courage of the passengers and crew of Flight 93. Follow this walkway to their final resting place.”

The walkway approaching the wall.

Faint words: “and unborn child”.

This is the spot where the plane crashed. The crater was filled in, and marked with a large boulder (it looks tiny on the left side of the photo above).

Looking out away from the crash site.

The hardest part of the memorial—seeing the faces of the heroes who died here.

They will plant 40 groves of 40 trees (one grove for each individual on Flight 93).

In the summer, wildflowers bloom across the fields of the memorial, and thousands come to pay their respects. I am grateful for this frozen, quiet March day that my little family got to say thank you.


  1. Man, that "and unborn child" got me. Thanks so much for swinging by the blog this week. We are on the mend, thankfully!

  2. Wow! What an emotional experience. Amazing!

  3. Wow! That was a really sobering post. I was touched by the part about the unborn child. It was profound to see the memorial acknowledge this child when it seems like the unborn children are so often over looked today.

    Keep up the great work! I just subscribed to your blog.
    Theresa @ A Mom in the Making ps thanks for stopping by my blog


Thank you so much for your comments! I enjoy reading each one!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...