The flag that flew over the US Capitol on September 11, 2001 was lost on Friday in a fire at the 9/11 Flight 93 memorial complex located in Pennsylvania. Numerous personal items of the passengers and crew members who were on board United Airlines Flight 93 were also lost.
Reuters reports some of the objects were at the complex to be photographed, measured and prepared for display at the new visitor center, which is under construction and slated to open in late 2015. About 100 ‘tribute’ items left by visitors to honor the passengers and crew killed in the crash were also destroyed by the fire, the park service said.
In all, the Flight 93 National Memorial’s headquarters complex was “a complete loss,” according to the park service. The complex was roughly two miles from the field where the flight crashed. The three buildings gutted by the blaze held at least 10 percent of the memorial’s collection of artifacts, many in boxes designed to be fire-proof. However, the fire proved to be too much for even the fire-proof boxes.
Fortunately, the park service was able to save some of the memorial items. Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst said the service saved the vast majority of the 820 oral histories conducted since 2005 that provide first-person insight into the crash. Additionally, 480 DVDs containing tens of thousands of images survived the fire, he said.
According to Fox News, Friday’s fire in Shanksville destroyed the park’s headquarters complex. State police and the park service are conducting a joint investigation into the blaze, whose cause hasn’t been determined, the park service said.
The memorial in Shanksville is a tribute to the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed during the September 11, 2001 attacks. The memorial was setup in the area that the plane crashed to commemorate the heroic actions of the passengers that day. The plane, which was traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California, went down in a reclaimed strip mine after passengers fought back against its hijackers. All 33 passengers and seven crew members were killed along with the hijackers. Many US authorities have said the actions of the passengers and crew aboard Flight 93 thwarted a planned attack on the US Capitol.
The plans for the new memorial are still underway and will help rebuild the loss sustained in this unfortunate fire. Park officials are hoping a new visitors center can be ready by June. Plans for a 93-foot-tall tower with 40 wind chimes is also in the works.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]