On September 11, 2018 as we were traveling through Pennsylvania. We decided to visit the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. As we arrived to the turn that leads to the entrance, there was quite a line of cars waiting to get in. It took us about 30 minutes to get in and then we had to park in the overflow parking area. From there. I was able to catch a shuttle to the Visitor center and the memorial wall.
The primary reason for all activities and chaos on this day was not just because it was the 17th anniversary of that 9-11 tragedy, but because President Trump was at the Memorial on this day. Of course he was already gone by the time we got there, but there was quite the craziness left behind from his visit.
Now I have to tell you, This place is absolutely beautiful and so intense. It is so peaceful and at times, as I walked through the small hiking trail that leads from the Visitor center to the Memorial wall, you can just feel the spirits of those who lost their lives at that crash site. It felt like a sacred place that was being overrun with news media, the family members of those who lost their lives, visitors who were there to honor them…. so much going on and yet through it all you can still feel the peace of this final resting place.
These are the photos I took from The Memorial Wall and Visitor Center.
The walk that led to those tall walls at the visitor center had the marks of when each plane was crashed. It was quite haunting to see those times and the flight numbers. Inside the visitor center they played videos and memorials from that fateful day. There was so many people there it was pretty difficult to really capture everything.
Below are the images from the Memorial wall. The Wall of Names is the most memorable feature of the Memorial, made of 40 individual slabs, each engraved with the name of a Flight 93 passenger or crew member (the four passenger/terrorists are not included). The wall follows the flight path of Flight 93, although its exact trajectory when it hit at 563 mph may have differed slightly.
Below: Servicemen and family honoring those who lost their lives at the rock which is a marker to spot where the plane crashed.
Below: A ranger on duty at the Wall of Names. You can see the impact boulder in the weedy field beyond it, but the Gate is only opened for VIPs. The closest an average visitor will get to the crash site is about 200 feet away.
A view from below of the Observation deck by the Visitor center. It is located at the end of the path with the dates and time of each hijacked plane.
The Impact Boulder
The serenity of this place should also be displayed. I captured the beauty of the landscape and flowers that adorned the fields and met us with whispers of its spirit.
One of the things I really wanted to see on this trip was the Tower Of Voices. Unfortunately, because of all the activities due to the President having been there, they had it closed off so I did not get a chance to see this structure up close. We did catch a glimpse of it from a distance as we were being told to keep moving so that the traffic continues to flow and not back up again. So I did not capture the image of it. But you can read all about it and see this magnificent tower at this link below provided by The National Parks. Click on the image.
Tower of Voices
(Image courtesy of NPS)
To say that I was touched by this place is an understatement. You can’t visit this site and not leave there untouched. You take within your heart and memories every heroic soul that gave their lives so that no more had to die. You can truly feel their spirit and their energy as you take in the beauty of the surrounding rolling hills, farms, fields bright with colors of wildflowers. They are all there, embracing every visitor that comes to remember them. You will feel sadness as well as gratefulness for their actions on that day. I highly recommend taking time to come and see this place and allow it to touch you and fill your heart. It really is hard to put into words exactly how you may feel. It is a personal journey and not everyone will feel the same things. But I am sure it will leave you breathless from the experience of just being there.
You can also view all these images with music on my YouTube channel:
Flight 93 Memorial- My Personal Journey