Monday, September 11, 2006

United Airlines Flight 93 - Five Years Later

I thought I'd post something relating to September 11, 2001 in honor of those who perished on that horrible day, 5 years ago today...

The National Park Service/Department of the Interior is currently planning and constructing the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, PA. It was here, on a scenic field, that United Airlines Flight 93, a 182-seat Boeing 757-200 with 37 passengers (including 4 hijackers) and 7 crew, crashed into the ground in a belly-up attitude, killing all aboard. The ground today is considered sacred, serving as the final resting place for those passengers who united together over a period of a few hours and charged the cockpit of the plane, at the time being operated by the hijackers and supposedly headed for Washington, DC. While all aboard were killed, the heroic actions of the passengers, many of which are documented in the cockpit voice recording and by loved ones who received phone calls from the ill-fated passengers aboard the plane, may have saved many more lives on ground, had the plane reached its intended target.

The memorial effort was begun a few years ago, and the ribbon-cutting for the finished park is hoped to be held on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, in 2011. In 2004-2005, a competition was held for a suitable design, and Paul Murdoch Architects of Los Angeles, CA, were chosen for their winning entry. An entry path into the memorial's "bowl", a roughly circular area marked by the natural topography of the site, follows the flight path of the plane just before it hit the ground. Also, the site will feature a grove of 40 maples, one for each of the 33 passengers, 2 flying crew, and 5 flight attendants who fought the hijackers on the plane. A plaza will be the focal point of the "bowl", allowing visitors to view the actual crash site, or "sacred ground", up-close. Finally, another area will be dedicated to preserving the foundations of the FBI structures set up at the edge of the site for the investigation of the crash.

For more information on the Flight 93 National Memorial, visit the website here. To make a donation in support of the project, visit the newly developed webstie here.

A temporary memorial has been placed at the site for visitors who wish to view the site today. Directions are available on the websites mentioned above.


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