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  • Writer's pictureJason Laurenzano

Remembering United Flight 93

As part of our Fall, 2021 road trip east from Evanston, IL we drove through Pennsylvania to visit dear friends. We detoured slightly to visit the United Airlines “Flight 93 National Memorial” in Stoystown (near Shanksville, PA.). Later we visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York City.

Needless to say, the Flight 93 Memorial was a moving experience. It consists of three elements: the Visitor Center; the Memorial Plaza; and the Tower of Voices, an impressive wind chime tower.

The Visitor Center is described this way on the website: "The visitor center features a permanent exhibition that focuses on the Flight 93 story within the context of the larger terrorist attack. Visitors are welcome during regular hours to a self-guided experience around artifacts, multi-media, and inter-active exhibits, that begin early on the morning of September 11, 2001. The exhibit recounts the story of the passengers and crew members and describes how the response and investigation following the crash."

The Memorial Plaza features a granite "Wall of Names" consisting of 40 white polished marble stones with the names of the fallen respectfully inscribed. The Plaza is the 1/4 mile northern boundary to the crash site which is the final resting place of the passengers and crew members.

The walkway in front of the Wall of Names is oriented to trace the path of Flight 93 as it descended towards the impact site in an open field near a grove of hemlock trees.

At the end of the path is a slatted gate, constructed of planks taken from damaged hemlock trees, destroyed by the fireball.

Beyond the gate near the tree line is a boulder placed at the precise impact point. This is not accessible by the general public but is visible from the walkway that leads to the Memorial Plaza and the Wall of Names. Family members of the fallen can be escorted to the impact site and occasional memorial services are held there.

The Tower of Voices is 93 feet tall [flight 93] that holds 40 wind chimes representing the 40 passengers and crew. According to the official website, “The tower is conceived as a monumental, ninety-three feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members. The intent is to create a set of forty tones (voices) that can connote through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.”

Some of the photographs are included here for the sole purpose of publicizing the Memorial and to help illustrate our experience during the visit. Please visit the website to learn more about the Memorial and to assist in the planning of a visit.

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