Posts Tagged ‘Flight 93 Memorial’

Flight 93 Memorial

Coming home from our trip to Detroit, we decided to stop at Shanksville, PA at the site of the crash of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. After 46 minutes of flying over eastern Ohio on that fateful day, hijackers in first class attacked at 9:28 a.m., incapacitating the captain and first officer. They turned the plane southeast, heading for Washington, DC. most likely the US capital. Thirteen of the passengers placed thirty-seven calls to family, friends and authorities and began to piece together the intent and seriousness of the situation. Their plane was part of a planned attack on America. They formed a plan to rush the hijackers, knowing that it would cost them their lives. The struggle lasted six minutes.

At 10 a.m. the plane was spotted flying low and erratic and at 10:03 it crashed, upside-down at 563 miles per hour into this Somerset County farm field. All thirty-three passengers, one unborn baby, seven crew members and four hijackers were instantly killed.

The plane came over the hill above the trees and went down the hill to where it crashed. The wall at the bottom of the hill marks the path and the large boulder sitting along in the field marks the spot of impact.

The Tower of Voices

Just after you turn off of the main road (Route 30-the same road that runs across the state into Lancaster), is the Tower of Voices. It is 93 feet tall in homage to the number of the flight. This is a musical instrument with forty chimes representing the voices of each of the forty passengers and crew members. Each chime has a different tone. It takes 12 mph wind to make the chimes ring and even though it was a very breezy day, only one on of the chimes occasionally chimed it’s sorrowful tone. A young fellow with a wind app on his phone said it was blowing at 7 mph. It was disappointing we didn’t get to hear it. The tour guide on site said she hears them about once a week. Even though it had an open design, the structure seemed to block the wind. There were quite a few visitors that day and it would have been so meaningful to have heard them ring. We were disappointed in the restrictive design and wondered why they chose one so limited.

View of the chimes.

The walls to the right and left of the gate represents the flight path. On the wall are the names of the victims. The gate faces the boulder sitting as a head stone on the crash site. The woods behind the boulder burned and was replanted with spruce. The families of the victims wanted a simple memorial. On that day, an ordinary, obscure farm field became a memorial attracting thousands and thousands of people and yet remains a simple, peaceful, burial site. Only family is allowed to walk to the boulder. No bodies were ever recovered.

if you turn and look back up the hill, there is a visitor center overlooking the site filled with the story and artifacts recovered from the site. There are bits and pieces of the plane and amazingly there are a few things that survived: several bent forks, the black box, and a bank statement of one of the hijackers were a few of the items. The black box was the only one recovered from the four planes involved in the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and this site. Pieces of the plane were scattered over the forty aces and woods. There were too many people and we were too short on time to see all we wanted at the center. The design of the center also reflects the path of the flight. This site is 18 minutes flying time from Washington, DC. The heroic action of unarmed passengers and crew thwarted and defeated the terrorists’ plan, saving many lives and kept our government intact.

The design and position of the building also reflect the path of the plane.
A walking path goes from the visitor center down to the wall and memorial. There is also a road that circled down on the left side.
The boulder, chosen from the land surrounding the site, became the marker for the site., Note the beauty of the wild flowers growing naturally.
It is wonderful to have a good zoom on my camera!
To the left and through the trees you can catch a glimpse of the farm buildings.
A memorial at the beginning of the walkway to the wall.

I quote from the a plaque in the visitor center…. “A common field one day. A field of honor forever”.

Rest in peace, America will not forget.

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