9/11 Flight 93 Memorial Honors 40 American Heroes

SHANKSVILLE, PA - SEPTEMBER 09: The Tower of Voices stands above visitors, dignitaries and family members of the victims of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 National Memorial on September 9, 2018 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

An abandoned field once mined for surface coal in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania, is now sacred ground where 40 men and women perished on September 11, 2001. The passengers aboard Flight 93 fought hijackers and forced the plane away from its suspected intended crash into the U.S. Capitol.

Now, for the 17th anniversary of the terror attack by radical Islamists that hijacked four planes in all — two taking down the Twin Towers in New York City and another plunging into the Pentagon in Washington, DC — a new memorial to the heroes aboard Flight 93 is being dedicated.

President Donald Trump will speak at the memorial on Tuesday, and visitors will be able to view the monument, which includes a 92-foot-high “Tower of Voices” with 40 different musical tones to represent each individual aboard the plane that fateful day.

Voice of America (VOA) reported on Flight 93 and the newly completed memorial:

The plane took off with 37 passengers — including the four hijackers — as well as seven crew members. As it flew west toward Cleveland, Ohio, the hijackers broke into the cockpit and injured the pilot and first officer. An air traffic controller in Cleveland heard the shouts.

The hijackers had gained control of the plane. They tried to announce to the passengers that there was a bomb on the plane and that they were returning to the airport. But they mistakenly made that announcement to the air traffic control center instead.

The plane then turned around in the skies over Cleveland. Investigators later found evidence that the plane was going toward Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The hijackers forced the crew and passengers to the back of the plane where they called loved ones, learned about the other plane highjackings, said their goodbyes, and came up with the plan to fight back.

“They ran into the cockpit to stop the hijackers,” VOA reported. “The plane went off its path over rural Pennsylvania. It rocked back and forth and rolled over.”

The plane crashed into the grassy field, leaving a massive crater.

Visitors to the memorial will learn that 1,000 people from 70 federal agencies worked around the clock to collect and examine evidence and gather any personal belongings they could find.

They can walk through 40 groves of 40 hemlock trees and visit the Flight 93 Memorial Wall of Names — 40 slabs of marble where each name of the people killed are engraved.

On the National Park Service (NPS) website, the story behind the memorial is told:

This was a day our country was shaken to its very foundation when terrorists coordinated hijacking of four commercial airliners in a strategically planned attack against the United States. Despite the destruction and devastation, stories of courage and heroism emerged.

The story of Flight 93 is a story of hope, courage, and unity. When confronted with the urgency of their situation, the passengers and crew of Flight 93 chose to act heroically and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. These 40 heroes made a democratic decision to fight back against terrorism, defending our freedom and preventing even further loss of life.

“A common field one day. A field of honor forever,” the NPS website states.

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