A weekend of solemn ceremonies to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks begins today in the rural Southwestern Pennsylvania city of Shanksville, where thousands have gathered for the dedication of the Flight 93 National Memorial.
During the ceremony, the Memorial Plaza and Field of Honor – the first stage of the $62 million memorial project – will be unveiled to honor the heroism of the 40 passengers and crew who died when some fought hijackers for control of the jetliner.
“We used the large scale of the open site to give a heroic quality to the memorial, creating a long, arching walkway around a Field of Honor,” architect Paul Murdoch, who designed the memorial, explained in an interview with the Allentown Morning Call. “We used the serenity of the rural landscape to inform the memorial expression as a cemetery, while working with the severity of the site’s exposure and mining history to recognize it as a battleground.”
Future features of the Flight 93 memorial site will include a Tower of Voices, a tower of 40 wind chimes honoring the 40 passengers who died; 40 Memorial Groves, 40 trees planted in 40 groves; Entry Portal, a representation of flight path; Visitor Center; Wetlands; and Sacred Ground.
Among dignitaries, Vice President Joe Biden and former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are scheduled to attend the memorial’s opening ceremonies and President Barack Obama will visit the site on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
The Flight 93 National Memorial and History Channel are providing a live webcast of the event, which begins at 12:30pm EST.