Flight 93 Memorial

On a beautiful sunny day in early August, Kate and I traveled to Shanksville, Pennsylvania,  to visit the memorial site honoring the victims of Flight 93.  Flight 93, you will recall, crashed into the Pennsylvania field when heroic Americans stormed the cockpit and took down the terrorists who were flying the plane towards the United States Capitol.  The Americans on that plane had learned through frantic phone calls that other terrorists had already attacked New York City, the financial hub of our nation.  They were also aware that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon, the nation's military defense hub.  An attack on the Capitol, the political hub of America, would have allowed the terrorists to complete their assault on three symbols that represent the history and success of our country.  Upon arrival, we entered the Memorial grounds and approached the ninety three foot tower honoring Flight 93.  Within the tower were forty wind chimes representing the forty Americans who died that day.  The day of our visit featured calm winds and the chimes were silent, but we were told that, when active, the chimes create the sensation of people's voices.  We parked and walked along a walkway leading to an overlook of the field below.  Far in the distance a large boulder is positioned in the exact spot where the plane crashed.  The scene was overwhelming.  We next entered the Memorial Building.  It is a large structure that takes visitors on a complete journey of the events of September 11, 2001.  The place was crowded with guests visibly consumed with what they were seeing.  Everyone spoke quietly.  There was no laughter.  There was no coarse language.  Everyone knew that they were in a special place.  When I completed the tour I moved to a quiet spot and simply watched.  I saw many people, men and women, wipe tears from their eyes.  I had envisioned that this place would be special, but I had no idea of the powerful emotions that enveloped me.  I found myself thinking to the Capitol that these heroes had saved that day.  The Capitol where great persons had debated great issues; the Capitol where Abraham Lincoln had asked that we bind up the nation's wounds; where Franklin Roosevelt asked for war to halt the advance of fascism; where John Kennedy asked us what we could do for our country.  And that was when I wiped the tears from my own eyes.  Many people visited the site that day and of one thing I am certain.  We are all better people for having gone there.