Saturday, September 15, 2012

flight 93 memorial: rural shanksville, pa.

What can I say about this place?  It's not a location one is excited to visit, yet it is so important that we do - so that we always remember those we lost on September 11th.  From Pittsburgh, the drive to Shanksville took us just two hours.  Although the crash site took place in a large, open field, the surrounding area is less rural than I imagined.  There are houses and shops and junk yards dotted along the main road, until you reach the entrance to the memorial.  From the field, you can really only see one farmhouse in the distance, but you can just imagine the view from that house when the plane went down.  The plane was on it's way to D.C. when it went down here, only 20 minutes away from it's intended target.

The memorial is well done and powerful in it's simplicity.  A long, white wall stands in the direction of the plane's flight path to the ground.  Extended beyond that, is a mowed path leading out to a large boulder, marking the impact site.  The names of each passenger are engraved in black on the wall and the words "flight attendant" are engraved in white below the names of the flight crew.  To me, that hardest part to see was the memorabilia left for the victims - photographs, letters, flags, hats, flowers.  These people were loved and lost.  They were innocent bystanders, just trying to get from point A to point B, and they were suddenly met with their worst fears.  And in the face of their fears, they stood up to fight.  They sacrificed.

I'm so glad I saw this.  As hard as it was, I needed to.  I will never forget.

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