Arrow-right Camera


Phase one begins on Flight 93 memorial

Sun., Nov. 8, 2009

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. – With the words “Let’s roll” – the command issued by United Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer to lead the passenger revolt – U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and 39 victims’ relatives and dignitaries turned shovels of dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for a permanent national memorial.

“We made it. Not to our goal, not to the finish line. Certainly not any semblance of closure, but nevertheless, we made it to the next milestone of our journey,” said Gordon Felt, whose brother, Edward Felt, was one of the 40 passengers and crew who died when the plane crashed into a field near rural Shanksville, about 65 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.

The government intends to have the first phase completed by Sept. 11, 2011 – the terrorist attacks’ 10th anniversary.

Gov. Ed Rendell said the memorial will tell of “ordinary citizens bound by a sense of urgency and action that changed the history of the world.”

Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was hijacked with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol, the 9/11 Commission found.

With Beamer’s words, passengers rushed down the airliner’s narrow aisle to try to overwhelm the hijackers after learning of the coordinated attacks. The commission concluded that the hijackers downed the plane as the hostages revolted. It was the only one of four hijacked planes that day that did not take a life on the ground.

Paul Murdoch Architects of Los Angeles was chosen to design the memorial four years ago after a one-year competition. Arrow Kinsley Joint Venture, of York, Pa., will construct the first phase.

The initial phase represents the vast majority of the park and will cost $58 million, of which $30 million will be paid through private contributions.

The park will be 2,200 acres, or nearly 3 1/2 square miles. A chapel featuring 40 chimes symbolizing each of the victims will stand at the entrance.

While visitors will be able to approach the edge of the crash site, only families of the victims will be able to enter the area, which will be planted with wildflowers. Nearby, victims’ names will be carved on a white stone wall.

Click here to comment on this story »