Tuesday, September 11, 2018

9/11 2018

17 years ago the world was changed forever. New considerations, new understanding, and new fears were thrust upon us all.

We all know, and will ever remember, exactly where we were and what we were doing when the news, the horror, the terror, altered our consciousness for all time.

I think The World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which are featured elsewhere on this site,  are probably better known than Shanksville. Pa., so I went there last week to honor the lost and learn more about the sight and the way we have honored the 40 passengers and crew members from Flight 93.

One enters the memorial site from Rte. 30 very near Shanksville and drives along a winding road lined with many trees to a parking lot at the entrance of the site.

The first thing that you see are large walls that dominate the space.

The walls are bisected by a dark path and funnel visitors to the observation and are said to reflect the height of the plane as it passed this spot . The path, said to represent the coal once mined here, turns out to be the exact flight path of the plane.

Along this path is a visitors Center that has any number of interesting and disturbing displays of TV broadcasts from the day, artifacts from the crash site and a huge window that looks out over what is now called The Field of Honor. 

The path itself is marked with a timeline of the other events of that fateful day.

The flight path ends, for the moment, at the observation deck.

From the deck you view the whole area including many of the 40 groves of 40 Red and White Maples,  Oak Trees, and Hemlocks planted as part of the remembrance of the 40 heroes aboard the ill fated airplane.

Debris from the wreckage was spread over a large area, some light weight materials, paper, etc. were found 8 miles from the site.

One can walk one of the paths leading to the crash area or drive along the road which is said to encompass and protect all that were lost there. There is parking near the plaza area from which you must walk the last bit of the journey.

This is the view of The Wall of Names as you approach and the one just below is of the observation deck from the above position.

Along the enclosing wall are several places specifically for visitors to leave small mementos as someone has done here.

The flight path continues from The Wall of Names to the gate which protects the actual impact area which is private.

The gate is made from some of the 100 Hemlock Trees which were destroyed by the crash.

Each of the 40 names is inscribed upon an 8 foot marble panel.

This 14 ton rock marks the actual impact spot of Flight 93 and is considered a burial spot and is reserved for the families of the lost. I had really wanted to place my hand upon it, but that is not allowed and I respect that.

On September 9th, 2018, the last feature of the memorial will be dedicated. It is a 93 foot tall Tower of Voices with 40 wind chimes that will sound in the constant wind which sometimes blows at 150 miles an hour here. The Park Service person on the site said that it will be dedicated but not actually completed by the 9th. There is some issue with the mechanism that holds the, often, very large chimes in place.

I will write more about it sometime in the future, when actually complete,

So, today, take a moment to recall this day 17 years ago and all that it has lead to, all that has happened and all that might yet come. Have a thought for those on board and their heroic actions that may well have saved the lives of countless others. No one actually knows where this plane was headed, but, I do know that many government agencies and personnel were told it was headed for them. Every agency in DC and elsewhere was on alert. I know of one where the employees were told to evacuate and they refused, they chose to stay and do what they could to fight back. Eventually, armed Marines showed up and "escorted" them out of the building.

We will never know if that was, in fact, necessary.

Next time, on the 16th, we will return to visiting Vietnam memorials, this time in California, so join me there at 9:00am.

To see other 9/11 memorials, browse this site, I have posted a few over the years from Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and The Pentagon.

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