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NPS Spotlight: Flight 93 Memorial

The deadliest terrorist attack in history. Planes. The Twin Towers. 3000 deaths. Many of us are old enough to remember September 11. To really remember it. Details stand out: where you were, what you were wearing, how you found out. Every year, on September 11th, tributes are made everywhere from social media to the One World Trade Center. Most often, these remembrances are New York and the Twin Towers. Of the 2977 deaths, 2753 of them were there. But, of course, there were two other planes: the one that went into The Pentagon and the one that went down in Pennsylvania. Upon going to The Flight 93 Memorial, as often happens with travel, my mind expanded.

Though I am old enough to remember details of that day, new reflections came to me. Every September 11th the “never forget” slogan returns and yet, in some ways we do seem to have forgotten. As time goes on, the flight 93 and Pentagon crashes fall more and more into the background. But what of those 40 beautiful individuals on flight 93? What must they have been feeling? Fear, certainly, but what about hope? Upon making the decision to try and overtake the terrorists, I daresay hope was present that they’d somehow get through it. Wrapped up in the devastation in The City, these were thoughts I’d never had before. This beautiful and amazing place made quite the lasting impression.

 

Location

Answer: middle of nowhere. Okay, real answer, a little over an hour and a half East of Pittsburgh. My Dad and I, last-minute, had to driver from Connecticut to Ohio (again) for a family reason and this time took a slightly longer route to stop in Pittsburgh. I, off-handedly, mentioned the memorial to my Dad. It was about 20 minutes out of the way and we, more or less, figured, why not? When else would we see it?

The Memorial

Wow. It may have only been 20 minutes out of the way but it is worth going a couple hours out of the way. It is everything a memorial should be. As expected, it’s serious, and yet, it’s also beautiful and peaceful; a true tribute to those 40 amazing people that took the chance and bravely fought the terrorists. It inspires reflection. It has places to sit and just think. There are trees and deer everywhere. The growth of life where life was lost.

Tower of Voices

Almost immediately after first entering the site there is a pull-off for The Tower of Voices. Symbolically the tower stands 93 feet tall with 40 wind chimes, one for each of the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93. It stands alone, overlooking a field, with no other building in sight. The visitor center is a couple miles down the road.

Memorial Plaza

Further past the visitor center is Memorial Plaza. This is the actual crash site. It contains informative plaques and photos of each of the 40 individuals. It has benches to sit and reflect and a pathway to walk along the field, which ends with the Wall of Names.

Basic Info

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