Through the Lens: Flight 93 Memorial
Recently as a nation, we paused to remember the terrible events of September 11, 2001. Our nation was attacked by foreign terrorists as we watched on television. A collective hush fell over our country as we could barely believe the day’s events. New York City, Washington DC and Stoystown Pennsylvania were permanently burned into our memories that day. It would be hard to believe if you were alive, you could forget where you were and what you were doing.
Twenty years have passed, and the events of the day are still very much part of our memories. Memorials and tributes were held at the sites of the attacks. And all across America in small towns and large, flags were displayed on lawns and porches. People took time out of their day to remember the 2,977 who died, along with the 6000 injured. These numbers do not reflect those first responders who are experiencing long lasting health problems from exposure that day.
Mary and I decided to travel to Pennsylvania to visit the Flight 93 Memorial on a Friday afternoon. The weather was much as it was that long ago day. Warm breezes, blue skies and quiet rolling country side surrounded us as we entered the memorial site.
The location of the crash site is off the beaten path tucked into the edge of a field, covered in Golden Rod in full bloom. Behind the site a grove of trees has regrown. It may give you the impression nothing ever happened at this beautiful site. Near the edge of the meadow, a stone bolder sits marking the spot where Flight 93 impacted the land.
I was somewhat surprised at the large number of visitors to the memorial. The parking lot was full and tour buses sat nearby.
Visitors, most who were wearing face coverings were moving around the uniquely designed visitor center that overlooks the site. It was designed to show the direction of Flight 93 in its final seconds that fateful day.
Inside the visitor’s center, the events of the day are on display. The events are shown to give visitors an idea of the final moments of the flight. In one area, a display shows the small fragments of the plane. When it impacted the ground it was traveling 532 mph. The force was so great the full size plane was reduced to thousands of fragments so small you could hold them in your hand. On another panel it has the pictures of the passengers and crew that were on board.
The entire site is laid out to tell the story and also show respect for the people on board that morning. Ordinary people hoping to go about their day and return home. Unfortunately, fate stepped in and took their lives, changing how we remember that day.
As you are leaving the memorial you will see a white glistening tower. It so tall, you could believe it is reaching for the blue skies over head. It is called the Tower of Voices. It is designed with a wind chime in mind.
As breezes move through the area, they create gentle tones from the chimes, reminding those who visit, the world changed that day. And to those who perished, perhaps the chimes tones reach up and whisper, we will remember and honor Flight 93’s sacrifice that day, as we see it Through the Lens.