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Special Section

REMEMBERING 9-11: Flight 93 National Memorial

REMEMBERING 9-11: Flight 93 National Memorial
Tower of Voices — Courtesy: Paul Murdoch Architects and Alexsander Novak-Zemplinski

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September 7, 2011
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Flight 93 National Memorial

In the hours and days following the crash

of Flight 93, the final chapter in the horrible

events of 9/11, a story of incredible

bravery and heroism emerged. Flight 93

was the only one of the hijacked planes

that failed to reach its intended target.

Flight 93 was just 20 minutes from

Washington, DC, and had the passengers

and crewmembers not taken decisive action,

it is likely that the plane would have

been used to crash into the U.S. Capitol or

the White House causing unimaginable


The “ordinary” people on board Flight

93 were anything but. They were men

and women, mothers, fathers, and children.

They were executives, technicians,

students, and retirees. They were young

and old, black and white, Americans and

foreign-born visitors. Yet despite these

apparent differences, they all possessed

undeniable qualities of the human spirit

-- courage, bravery, selflessness -- that enabled

them to join together in an extraordinary

way and achieve the first victory in

the war on terrorism.

The passengers and crew of Flight 93 will

be permanently honored at the Flight 93

National Memorial, set at the site where

their final struggle ended in a rural field

near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The Flight

93 National Memorial was created by an

act passed by Congress and signed by

President George W. Bush on September

24, 2002.

“This peaceful place was not chosen by the

terrorists -- they had other targets for their

violence and hate. This spot was chosen by

the passengers of Flight 93, who spared our

country from even greater horrors.”

-- Former First Lady Laura Bush

The Memorial

When completed, the Flight 93 National Memorial

will be the only unit of the national

park system chronicling the events and

personalities of September 11, 2001. Creating

a place that not only remembers the 40

heroes of Flight 93 but also inspires ordinary

citizens to act in their own heroic ways is

what the Flight 93 National Memorial is all

about. The components of the Memorial are:

The Sacred Ground is the heart of the Flight

93 National Memorial because it was here

that the plane with all 40 passengers and

crewmembers aboard crashed on September

11, 2001. A memorial plaza will offer a

viewing position of the meadow and hemlock

grove, which absorbed much of the

devastating impact. The plaza will terminate

in a “wall of names” -- white marble panels

inscribed with each of the names of the

forty passengers and crew, parallel to a black

concrete walkway denoting the plane’s final

flight path. A series of benches and trees

will create a chapel-like setting for peaceful


The Field of Honor is the largest and most

prominent of the Memorial’s unique design

features. Measuring a half-mile in diameter

and adjacent to the memorial plaza, the

bowl-shaped Field links the entire Memorial

through sightlines and pathways.

The Entry Portal is the opening to the Flight

93 National Memorial. The portal will be

marked by two parallel concrete walls that

trace the final trajectory of Flight 93 as it

descended toward the crash site.

Visitors approaching the Entry Portal will

pass through its twin walls along a symbolic

black walkway called the Flight Path. Immediately

visitors will be brought back to 10:03

a.m. on September 11, 2001 when Flight 93

careened in this direction toward a stand of

hemlock trees. Passing through the wall and

across a plaza, visitors will be standing at an

overlook with a sweeping view of the Field

of Honor. At the end of the walkway will be

a sloped glass plaque inscribed with the

memorial’s mission statement.

A common field one day. A field of honor

forever. May all who visit this place remember

the collective acts of courage and sacrifice of

the passengers and crew, revere this hallowed

ground as the final resting place of those

heroes, and reflect on the power of individuals

who choose to make a difference.

-- Preamble to the Flight 93 National Memorial

Mission Statement

Mission statement at:


Creating a living memorial within the Memorial

is the objective of planting 40 Memorial

Groves along the perimeter of one-half

of the Field of Honor. Each grove will contain

40 trees, such as sugar or red maples, for a

total of 1,600 trees that radiate toward the

center of the Field. An allée of trees, a walking

path, and a road for vehicles will frame

the Memorial Groves.

A large area just below the entry portal

overlooks the western edge of the impact

site of Flight 93 and provides a key vantage

point to view the entire Memorial site.

The Tower of Voices will dramatically mark

the main entrance to the Flight 93 National

Memorial from Route 30. Reaching 93 feet

into the air, the Tower will feature 40 wind

chimes for each of the passengers and crewmembers

and serve as an audible reminder

of their selfless act of courage in the final

moments of Flight 93.

The Visitor Center will be located just inside

the Entry Portal, between the large concrete

walls designating the final flight path of

Flight 93. The Visitor Center will be one of

the educational and interpretive hubs of

the Memorial, where visitors can learn both

about the Flight 93 story as well as about

the layout of the Memorial park. A portion of

the Visitor Center will be devoted to exhibits.

The Learning Center will be located a

short distance away. The Learning Center

will be able to host temporary or traveling

exhibitions about September 11, and its

spaces can be easily adapted for small or

large groups to host lectures, films, or other

programs. Engaging exhibitions will be an

important part of the visitor experience.

The drama and tragedy of Flight 93 will

be chronicled using the latest audio and

video technology, primary source materials,

photographs, and oral history testimony

from those who were there, including family

members, first responders, volunteers, and

local residents.

Learn more at:

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