At 10:03 a.m. on September 11, 2001, the last of four planes that were hijacked earlier that morning crashed into a field near the town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The people behind the 9/11 attacks later claimed the hijackers who commandeered the plane intended to crash it into the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., but passengers and crew stormed the cockpit, prompting the hijackers to crash the plane into the field, which is less than 20 minutes flying time to Washington, D.C.
The efforts of passengers and crew onboard Flight 93 were nothing short of heroic. Though everyone aboard the flight perished in the crash, the attack on the U.S. Capitol was thwarted, saving untold number of lives. All passengers and crew on board Flight 93 were awarded a Congressional Gold Medal on September 11, 2014.
The Flight 93 National Memorial is located in Stonycreek Township in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, roughly two miles north of Shanksville. The memorial was opened to family members of the victims on September 10, 2015, and is now open to the public seven days a week, 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset, though visitors are urged to contact the Memorial in advance due to potential restrictions or closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In September 2005, the Flight 93 Advisory Commission, which included family members of the victims as well as design and art professionals and community and national leaders, chose a design proposal submitted by Paul Murdoch Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Architects from among 1,100 entries.
The Flight 93 National Memorial includes the Tower of Voices, a 93-foot-tall musical instrument that holds 40 wind chimes, one to represent each of the 40 passengers and crew members who perished in the crash. The tower is located on an oval concrete plaza that includes two curved concrete benches facing the opening of the tower. The tower is surrounded by concentric rings of white pines and deciduous plantings. A live webcam of the Tower of Voices can be viewed at www.flight93friends.org/plan-your-visit/webcams.
Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial also can visit the Memorial Plaza. The Memorial Plaza features the Wall of Names, which is made up of 40 white polished marble stones inscribed with the names of the passengers and crew who were aboard Flight 93 on 9/11. The Memorial Plaza extends one-quarter mile alongside the area where Flight 93 crashed. Visitors can walk along the Memorial Plaza and view the impact site, including a grove of eastern hemlock trees that were damaged by the crash. A gap in the tree line is still visible and serves as a lasting “scar” of the crash.
More information about the Flight 93 National Memorial is available at https://www.nps.gov/flni/planyourvisit/index.htm.