Paying Your Respects at the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County
To say that I wish the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County didn’t exist is a bit of an understatement. After all, the events of September 11, 2001, that led to United Airlines flight 93 crashing into this field in rural Pennsylvania are something that no one alive on that day will ever forget.
On that fateful day, I had just started my freshman year of college and it was one of the very few days that I was homesick during my entire four years. Even now, as I write about it, despite not knowing anyone who was directly affected on that day, I still feel a wave of sadness come over me.
Driving up to the Flight 93 Memorial, I had immediate feelings of both peacefulness and sadness. The memorial to those who died on Flight 93 is unique in that it isn’t located in the middle of bustling New York City or next to a military facility just outside of Washington, DC, but instead, in an empty field.
When you reach the memorial area, you’ll first encounter a grouping of signs that give information about the significance of the site and the names and faces of those onboard the ill-fated plane.
Inside a very small building, park rangers offer amazingly detailed accounts of the events of 9/11 and are willing to answer any questions that you may have. A new visitor center is currently being built and should be open by the summer of 2015. However, there is something about the small center that seems fitting for the site.
Truthfully, there isn’t much to see at the Flight 93 Memorial. A long pathway leads out along the field where the plane crashed. As I walked along the path, I began to notice small trinkets and gifts that had been left at the site. In many ways, the site reminded me of a cemetery. I suppose because that’s what it really is.
As you look over the field, notice the large boulder. It was placed by the National Park Service a few years ago to mark the spot where the nose of the plane plummeted into the ground.
At the end of the walkway is a grouping of large stone panels. These panels are aligned with the angle the plane flew into the field, with one being reserved for each innocent person killed on the flight. Looking over the names, it’s hard not to get a bit teary-eyed thinking about what happened in the field.
Thinking back on my visit to the Flight 93 Memorial, I think that it’s a very important place for people spending time in Somerset County to check out. However, don’t expect to leave feeling happy and uplifted because visiting is a very sobering experience.
My recommendation would be that after visiting the Flight 93 Memorial, head over to the Que Creek Mine Rescue Site. The events at this mine happened roughly 11 months after the events of 9/11, but had a happy ending with the rescue of the 11 miners who were trapped underground. It’s certainly an uplifting way to end a very somber visit to the Flight 93 Memorial.
Flight 93 Memorial
Address: 6424 Lincoln Highway