The Flight 93 National Memorial is dedicated to the heroic men and women who gave their lives to prevent the loss of even more life on that fateful September 11th day in 2001. On that day, 33 passengers and 7 crewmen and women attempted to storm the cockpit to regain control of the hijacked plane. After discovering from incoming phone calls that two other suicide attacks had already taken place, the passengers and crew of this ill-fated plane had a choice – they could cower, or they could do something.
On that fateful day, a choice was made – a choice that almost certainly saved far more lives than were taken in the crash. On that day, the brave men and women of flight 93 – men and women who were just ordinary people like you and me – took action.
None of us can ever truly know or understand the courage it took to face what they must have known was almost certain death. None of us can know the feeling of the plane plummeting toward the earth after the hijackers realized that they couldn’t maintain control until they reached their destination. What we all can do, however, is visit the Flight 93 National Memorial at least once in our lifetime.
Visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial
The Flight 93 National Memorial is dedicated to the brave men and women who lost their lives on that flight over a decade ago. This park honors the bravery, sacrifice, and memory of the passengers and crew, and it’s an incredibly beautiful spot to visit both spiritually and physically.
As I was looking through the pictures, I noticed the power line pole looking like a cross.
Visit The Museum
One of the first things to do is stop by the memorial itself. The Flight 93 National Memorial is both a monument and a museum, chronicling the story and sacrifice of those on the plane. It’s home to a variety of informational spots, several events, and the iconic Tower of voices, which stands symbolically at 93 feet high. Be sure to spot and visit the audiovisual display, as well as the Wall of Names.
Stop by the Visitor Center
While you’re at the memorial, be sure to stop by the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center to view the permanent exhibition focusing on the Flight 93 story. It also features a book store that provides informational books and other travel necessities to visitors of the memorial along with information about the surrounding area so you can enjoy more of this beautiful area of Pennsylvania after you’ve payed your respects.
Walk the Memorial Trails
While many know about the Wall of Names and the Tower of Voices, what many don’t know about is the many trails that can be found on the memorial grounds. These trails were designed to promote a peaceful, tranquil feeling that still held all of the importance of the site as people walked along them. Walking these trails offers up-close views of the area and showcases how beauty can still come from tragedy.
Explore the Area’s Other Trails
After visiting the museum and walking the trails, you can spend some more time during your trip taking in the other scenic trails to be found in the area. The Spruce Run Trail and Great Gorge Trail are both family-friendly, offering both children and adults amazing views, fresh air, and an easy hike that allows the family to get back to nature together. Along the way, families will be treated to views of the Pennsylvanian wilderness including majestic trees and gorgeous rivers and creeks.
Visit the National Parks
In addition to the Flight 93 National Memorial, the area is home to several beautiful national parks worth visiting. These parks are perfect for enjoying the beauty of nature together as a family. They highlight the natural wonder of Pennsylvania as almost nothing else can. These parks are almost bursting with history, as well.
Allegheny Portage Railroad chronicles the history of one of the most important rail systems in Pennsylvania. The Allegheny Portage Railroad was the finishing piece of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal, the first railroad to circumvent the Allegheny Mountains. It served merchants, passengers, soldiers from the Mexican War, and even slaves in the pursuit of their freedom. Visitors should stop by the visitor center as well as the Lemon House, the Engine House No. 6 Exhibit Shelter, The Staple Bend Tunnel, and more.
Friendship Hill is the restored country estate that once belonged to Albert Gallatin, known as America’s Forgotten Founding Father. He served for 13 years as Secretary of the Treasury during the Jefferson and Madison administrations, and during that time, he funded the Lewis & Clark exploration, purchased the Louisiana Territory, and more. These accomplishments and more are highlighted at his restored estate.
Flight 93 National Memorial – A Must-Visit
If you’re planning a trip anywhere near the Flight 93 National Memorial, please take the time to stop and visit. There, the heroic men and women who gave their lives to save so many more are forever honored and remembered, and visitors can learn so much about that fateful day and the ultimate sacrifice that was made by the passengers and crew.
From there, you can take in the beauty and history of this gorgeous area of Pennsylvania by visiting the nearby parks and historical sites, making it a trip filled with remembrance, beauty, and togetherness that the entire family will remember.
A Personal Experience
“The plane’s unusually loud engine roar caused us to look up. It was probably 500 feet above the ground, upside down, and doing a nosedive. About 5 seconds later we heard a loud crash. This was immediately followed by a large plume of flame and black smoke. We were horrified because we knew what we had just witnessed”.
These words were told to me by a friend who had family living, at the time, very near the crash site. Others, who were not outside and saw the events unfold, thought they heard dynamite blasts from the nearby coal mines. They also felt the ground shake like a minor earthquake.
When you visit Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 went down, it takes you right back to 9/11, probably the worst day in American history. I have a friend who had family living there at the time. They were outside working on their farm and witnessed these horrific events firsthand.
My friend drove to the family farm shortly afterwards to check on her family and see the devastation for herself. Back then, the memorial was only one small building and some panels showing each passenger’s picture. Over the years, the memorial has greatly expanded to what it is today.
When you leave this somber memorial, you feel a sense of loss for all the families who were affected that day. You can understand why the family members meet each year to commemorate what happened there.
The Newest Memorial – Tower of Voices
A little away from the Visitor Center and Crash Site, is the newest memorial – The Tower of Voices. This is a living memorial in sound for remembering the forty voices as the wind blows. You won’t find another chime tower in the world like this.