On September 11th, 2001 I was 10 years old and in 5th grade. I remember vaguely hearing about the events that happen that day while we were in school and then when I got home my parents explained to me what was going on in the country.. I know that there are some people that can tell you the exact place they where and what they where doing when they heard the news of the terrorist attacks, but being so young I didn't understand the gravity of the situation.
For years I've wanted to see the Flight 93 Memorial about 2 miles north of Shanksville, PA. Forest and I photographed a wedding recently about 45 minutes away from the memorial so we made sure to plan the day after the wedding to visit. We arrived early, parked the car and your immediately immersed in the history of what happen that day. You walk the flight path and as your walking their are time stamps on the ground dictating what happen and when. Then once you arrive to the end of the walk way you see were the plane crashed, marked with a big sandstone bolder.
Next to the flight path there is a visitors center. Due to Covid things were a little different, but that is where the bulk of the information was. We didn't talk any pictures in the visitors center. The information of what happen that day just needs to be read and experienced. They have pictures of the crew and passengers, a timeline starting from 7am that day and so so much more. It was an emotional walk as you read what the passengers and crew went through.
After we visited the flight path and the visitors center we walked down to Memorial Plaza. We met a very nice volunteer who told us stories about the crew and passengers. One of the pilots was traveling home to surprise his wife, one finished his Masters and was visiting the US from Japan to tour, and one of the women was flying on the plane to go live with her daughter in California. She told us about the artist who designed the memorial and all of the subtleties. Like the Memorial wall was designed as individual panels because each person came on to the flight at an individual, but it is connected like an accordion because of how they came together. One thing in all of our travels is that I always talk to the park rangers and volunteers, they have so much information and love to share it!
On our way out of the memorial we stopped at the Tower of Voices, this project was started in 2018 and is near completion. We hope one day post Covid to be able to come back and experience the memorial as it was intend and to be able to hear the chimes. If anyone is thinking about visiting the Flight 93 Memorial, do it! Its about 2.5 hours away from the Youngstown area and I highly highly recommend it!