When you hear the words 9/11 what flashes in your mind? Is it the picture of the plane hitting the second tower, the towers crashing down, the Pentagon on fire, or the smoldering remnants of Flight 93?
On a recent trip to Pennsylvania, Randy requested that we stop by the Flight 93 Memorial.
As you drive through the entrance you are immediately touched by the peacefulness of the surroundings. The 3 mile drive to the memorial are marked by fields of wildflowers and calming ponds.
As we began our meditative walk toward the marble stones we passed through acres and acres of wildflowers blowing in the gentle breeze. Every little while cut out of the black stone were receptacles for visitors to the park to place items that represented what the sacrifice of Flight 93 meant to that person. As we approached the marble I noticed that each one had a name on it representing the men and women on Flight 93.
We were fortunate enough that a park ranger was stationed in that area, as she was able to explain the significance of everything. The area was at one time a coal mine that is why the black stone forms the walkway.
The slabs of marble were each cut out of 40 individual marble pieces and than inscribed with each of the hero’s names. They were then placed not touching each other but with just inches of separation. This represents the fact that it was a group of individuals who do not know each other, who made a commitment to come together for the greater good.
The marble stones were then located on the flight path of the airplane as it made its final hurdle to the ground. When it struck and exploded, the hemlock trees in the area were caught in the huge firestorm and burned. So they have placed at the end of the flight path a wooden gate made from hemlock. Each slate of the gate is the size of a railroad tie with space between to view the crash site.
The site itself is marked by a large bolder and is not approachable by anybody except the families of the heroes. The reason for this is that this is the final resting place of those people aboard that plane that knew what they were facing and despite the danger for themselves carried through their one final act in this world.
When the Flight 93 Memorial is completed it will be a fitting tribute to those courageous enough to do what I hope I would do in the same situation.