The Flight 93 National Memorial remains the only major 9/11 tribute without enough money to complete construction, but the phase-one opening of the Memorial, near Shanksville in Somerset County, will be held on September 10th and 11th.
Among the memorial’s features expected to be in place for this year’s 10th anniversary is a white marble wall with the names of the 40 passengers and crew members who died on the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93.
The first phase of the $62 million memorial at the crash site is almost a decade in the making, involving years of persistent fundraising, strained negotiations with landowners, and even opposition to the winning memorial design. Further it will be several more years before a permanent memorial is finished, the expected date is not until 2014.
Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco on September 11th, 2001, when passengers rushed the hijackers, causing the plane to change course. It went down in a field near Shanksville instead of hitting one of three nuclear facilities, which many believe was the intended target.
Although the national memorial act was signed into law in 2002, the law authorized building a memorial but it did not appropriate funds. The lack of appropriated funds has brought about the need for private donations. Donations are vital to the Flight 93 project.
The 2,200-acre parklands include a reclaimed coal strip mine in Stonycreek Township. Near the Shanksville flight path, the public can expect to see 40 slabs of polished stone with inscriptions of the names of the victims. A concrete structure will form a gateway for visitors that separate the parking area and a memorial plaza that extends along the edge of the crash site.
“It’s a landscape memorial,” said Jeff Reinbold, site manager of the Flight 93 National Memorial. “Don’t think about a monument in Washington [D.C.]. Think of a place like Gettysburg. We thought people should experience rural Pennsylvania.”
When the monument is completed, scheduled for 2014, about 140,000 trees will be planted. The tower at the Park’s gateway will be seen from the highway, and include 40 wind chimes representing the voices of the passengers and crew. Meanwhile, a temporary memorial that has included photos, notes, and mementos has attracted thousands to the site.
The September 11th story is unfinished, said King Laughlin, vice president of the Flight 93 National Memorial at the National Park Foundation.
“That story is really incomplete until all three memorials have been funded and completed, and that includes the memorial in Shanksville for the 40 men and women on Flight 93,” Laughlin said.
For more information please visit the Flight 93 National Memorial website and join supporters on Facebook.
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