Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Flight 93 National Memorial

 We got on the road in the middle of beautiful ice-fog in Indiana.  The trees had ice crystals on the branches and the sparkled like Christmas tinsel in the early morning light.

Our first stop on our way to see the Pink-footed Goose in Pennsylvania was at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

It was a somber moment, and my sadness was overwhelming as I stood inside the Memorial Plaza
and looked out at the crash site

and the Wall of Names. 
All of the emotion I felt on September 11, 2001 came rushing back, and I could not hold back the tears.

The following is information copied from the signs at the Memorial Plaza and the Park’s brochure.

On the morning of September 11, 2001 four commercial airliners were hijacked by al Queda terrorists in a planned attack against the United States. Two were flown into the World Trade Center’s twin towers and a third was flown into the Pentagon in Arlington, VA.  The fourth plane, United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco was delayed for about half an hour before it took off.  After 46 minutes of flying, when over eastern Ohio, hijackers in first class attacked, incapacitating the captain and first officer.  The hijackers turned Flight 93 southeast, headed for Washington DC, most likely the US Capitol.
Air traffic controllers in Cleveland heard the pilot or first officer shouting, “Mayday! Get out of here!” The hijackers gained control. One terrorist claimed to have a bomb strapped to his waist and forced the crew and passengers to the back of the plane.  Using aiffones from the seat backs in the rear of the plane and cell phones, passengers and crew called their families, friends and authorities to report the hijacking.  They soon learned the shocking news that their flight was part of a larger attack. This realization leads to a vote and a collective decision to fight back.

They rushed forward toward the hijackers and the cockpit.  The cockpit voice recorder captures their struggle: shouts, screams, calls to action, and sounds of breaking glassware.  As the passengers and crew attempt to regain control, a terrorist shouts, “Pull it down!” In the plane’s final moments, it rolls upside down and at 10:03am, plows into an empty field at a speed of 563 miles per hour.  Upon impact, the 7,000 galons of jet fuel on board explode, creating a ball of fire that rises high above th trees.  Just before 10am the plan was seen flying low and erratically over southwestern Pennsylvania.  At 10:03am, it crashed, upside-down, at 563 miles per hour into a field in Somerset County. 
There were no survivors.  All 33 passengers, seven crew and four hijackers were killed.
People nearby report that, in the bright sunlight, the black cloud glitters with bits of metal debris.
Their revolt prevented Flight 93 from reaching the Terrorists’ intended target. 

Names of the passengers and crew of UA Flight 93 are engraved in the white marble Wall of Names, which follows the flight path at the Memorial Plaza.

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