Of the four aircraft hijacked on September 11, Flight 93 is the only one that did not reach its intended target, presumed to be the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. Several passengers and crew members made telephone calls aboard the flight and learned about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. As a result, the passengers decided to mount an assault against the hijackers and wrest control of the aircraft. The plane crashed in a field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, about 150 miles (240 km) northwest of Washington, D.C., killing all 44 people aboard, including the 4 hijackers.
The site of the crash is enclosed by a fence and is closed to the public except for victims' family members. The temporary memorial is located on a hillside from the crash site. The memorial includes a 40-foot (to commemorate the 40 passengers) chain-link fence on which visitors can leave flags, hats, rosaries, and other items. The items are collected by the Somerset Historical Center and stored until a permanent memorial is built.
Next to the fence are several memorials such as a bronze plaque of names, flags, and a large cross. The temporary memorial also includes a row of small wooden angels, one for each passenger or crew member. There are also handwritten messages on the guardrails at the memorial. At the memorial site, there is also a small building where visitors can sign a guestbook. The building is staffed by National Park Service volunteers, called ambassadors, who answer questions. In the years following the attacks, approximately 150,000 visitors each year have come to the memorial site.
The proposed boundaries of the National Memorial extend from Lambertsville Road to U.S. Highway 30. It will be about , of which about 1,000 will be privately held, but protected through partnership agreements. The memorial itself would be a "bowl" shaped area, with 1,800 surrounding acres as a buffer. In December 2002, landowner Tim Lambert donated six acres at the crash site, and entered discussions with the Conservation Fund regarding 160 additional acres. Using some funds donated from receipts for the film United 93, the Families of Flight 93 organization purchased three acres in the summer of 2006. The organization is also seeking $10 million in federal funding to use for acquiring land. In November 2006, the Conservation Fund acquired as buffer land which are to be managed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. PBS Coals Inc. sold to the the families organization in March 2008.
The design featured a "Tower of Voices," containing 40 wind chimes — one for each passenger and crew member who died. A crescent is formed by a circular pathway lined with red maple trees that follows the natural bowl shape of the land. Forty groves of red and sugar maples and eastern white oak trees were to be planted behind the crescent. A black slate wall would mark the edge of the crash site, where the victims are buried.
Jury member Tom Burnett Sr., whose son was killed in the crash, said he made an impassioned speech to his fellow jurors about what he felt the crescent represented, "I explained this goes back centuries as an old-time Islamic symbol," Burnett said. "I told them we'd be a laughing stock if we did this. Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado has opposed the design's shape "because of the crescent's prominent use as a symbol in Islam." Mike Rosen of the Rocky Mountain News wrote: "On the anniversaries of 9/11, it's not hard to visualize al-Qaeda celebrating the crescent of maple trees, turning red in the fall, "embracing" the Flight 93 crash site. To them, it would be a memorial to their fallen martyrs. Why invite that? Just come up with a different design that eliminates the double meaning and the dispute. It has also been pointed out that the design's crescent is oriented toward Mecca.
The architect asserts that this is coincidental and that there was no intent to refer to Muslim symbols. Several victims' families agreed, including the family of Edward P. Felt. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has denounced criticism as Islamophobic.
Others criticized the design as too non-representational. "We don't need giant statues of the guys ramming the drink cart into the door. But pedantic though such a monument might be, future generations would infer the plot. All you get from a Crescent of Embrace is a sorrowful sigh of all-encompassing grief and absolution, as if the lives of all who died on that spot were equal in tragedy. They were not," wrote James Lileks, a journalist and architectural commentator.
The redesigned memorial has the plain shape of a circle (as opposed to a crescent) bisected by the flight's trajectory. "The circle enhances the earlier design by putting more emphasis on the crash site, officials said in the newsletter. A break in the trees will symbolize the path the plane took as it crashed. There is criticism that the redesign does not address any of the issues with the original design.
The National Park Foundation Board of Directors Announces $2 Million Challenge Grant To Support the Flight 93 National Memorial.
Aug 16, 2011; With fewer than 40 days until the 10-year commemoration of the September 11 attacks, the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign...
Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign, Families of Flight 93 and PA State Senator Jane Orie Honor Volunteers Who Raised $1.1 Million for Flight 93 Memorial.
Sep 21, 2009; Pennsylvania State Senator Jane Orie, Majority Whip; General Tommy R. Franks, USA (Ret), Honorary Co-Chair of the Flight 93...
FLIGHT 93 NATIONAL MEMORIAL CAMPAIGN, FAMILIES OF FLIGHT 93 AND PA STATE SENATOR JANE ORIE HONOR VOLUNTEERS WHO RAISED $1.1 MILLION FOR FLIGHT 93 MEMORIAL.
Sep 10, 2009; HARRISBURG, PA -- The following information was released by the Pennsylvania Republican Party: Pennsylvania State Senator Jane...