Flight 93 Memorial: The design of the Flight 93 Memorial and the adjacent museum are a work of art. Shown are visitors as they walk on the ‘Flight Path’ walkway at the memorial. The dark gray walkway leads to an overlook of the crash site about one quarter mile away and down a hillside. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Wall of Names: Forty slabs of white polished granite, 3-inches thick and eight feet tall, line up to create the Wall of Names at the Memorial Plaza. Each slab of granite has the name of a crew member or passenger who died in the crash on 9-11-2001. The 40 slabs form a wall on the flight path of the plane when it crashed. The flags at the base of the slabs were placed there for Memorial Day last Monday. There were Memorial Day programs throughout the day at the site. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
By GARY WARREN
Formerly of Los Alamos
On Sept. 11, 2001, four commercial airliners were hijacked by al Qaeda terrorists. Two crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and one crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The fourth plane, United Flight 93, took off from Newark, N.J., flying to San Francisco, Calif., but was hijacked near Cleveland, Ohio and redirected toward Washington, D.C.
Flight 93 was the only plane that did not strike its target, the U.S. Capitol, due to the courageous flight crew and passengers. After the four terrorists on board hijacked the plane, all crew and passengers were sent to the rear of the Boeing 757. After several people made phone calls and heard what had already transpired in New York and Washington, D.C., they decided to rush the hijackers who were now flying the plane.
After a five-minute struggle with the terrorists, the plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field near Shanksville, PA., traveling at a speed of 563 miles per hour and upside down. Everyone on board died. Seven crew members, 33 passengers, and the four terrorists. But the plane never reached its intended target.
The Flight 93 National Memorial is a beautiful tribute to those 40 heroes aboard the flight. The museum contains a few artifacts found at the crash site as well as a detailed timeline of the flight that fateful morning. The Memorial Plaza consists of a wall constructed of 40 slabs of 3-inch white granite slabs eight feet tall. The Wall of Names runs in the direction of the plane’s flight path.
We visited the Flight 93 Memorial last Monday, Memorial Day. During a Memorial Day presentation, the crew and passengers were referred to as “citizen soldiers”. I believe this to be an accurate statement given that their actions prevented the plane from reaching its target. When the plane crashed at 10:03 a.m., it was only 18 minutes flight time from the U.S. Capitol.
The theme or thread throughout the museum and memorial is “A common field one day, a field of honor forever”.
Seeing the Flight 93 Memorial and museum and the touching memorial at Memorial Plaza about a quarter of a mile down a hillside made me appreciate this Memorial Day more than any before. The Flight 93 Memorial in southern Pennsylvania, a tribute to 40 brave and courageous Americans, is very much worth visiting if in the area.
The Flight 93 Memorial was dedicated in 2011. In 2015, the visitors center and museum complex were dedicated and in 2018, the Tower of Voices was dedicated and is located near the entrance to the Flight 93 Memorial. The memorial is operated by the National Park Service.
Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country and he shares his photographs, which appear in the ‘Posts from the Road’ series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.
Memorial and Overlook: Seen is the Flight 93 Memorial from the Memorial Plaza located downhill from the Memorial and Museum. The Overlook at the end of the Flight Path walkway can be seen in the center of the memorial with several visitors looking down toward the crash site. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Museum Visitors: Visitors tour the museum at the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania. The museum shows a detailed timeline of the Flight 93 events on 9-11-2001, including the flight path, terrorist attack, and crash of the plane as well as a tribute to the 40 American heroes who lost their life that day. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Visitors Center: Visitors mingle outside of the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitors Center, which is located near Shanksville, Pa. The Visitors Center and museum were added to the Flight 93 Memorial in 2015. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Resting Place: A 17-ton sandstone boulder was placed at the point of impact for the Boeing 757 plane when it crashed. The plane crashed into the ground at 563 miles per hour and upside down creating a crater in the landscape. The black box for the plane was found buried 25 feet underground. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Tower of Voices: The Tower of Voices was dedicated in 2018 and is located near the entrance to the Flight 93 Memorial grounds. The tower is 93 feet tall and holds 40 wind chimes (one for the seven crew members and the 33 passengers). The chimes produce 40 different but musically compatible tones. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com