Hallie Lauer | Features Editor
SHANKSVILLE – One hour and 17 minutes after the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, Flight 93, carrying 33 passengers and seven crew members, crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 580 miles per hour.
“Hero is one of the most overused words in any language.The people of Flight 93, the 40, are heroes,” Gov. Tom Wolfe said in his observance speech on Sept. 11. “They did not know who they were saving, they only knew their fellow Americans were at risk.”
On Sunday Sept. 9, the newest addition to the memorial was dedicated, The Tower of Voices is a 93 feet tall tower made of 40 separate windchimes. The 40 chimes, representing the 40 lives on board Flight 93 each play a different note, further symbolizing the different background they came from.
Flight 93 went down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 125 miles and a mere 18 minute flight from Washington, D.C. the original target for the hijacked plane. The passengers and crew, once they realized what had happened at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and now on their own plane, held a vote to fight back.
One of the audio clips from those fateful moments is from flight attendant Sandy Bradshaw. In the clip, she is on the phone with her husband, telling him that they were boiling water to throw on the hijackers.
Six minutes after that phone call, during which, according to audio clips, a struggle between the hijackers and the passengers ensued, the plane then crashed into an open field.
“It was here that freedom took its dramatic stand,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker said.
The families of those killed in the crash were seated at the front of the observance area. Each speaker addressed them – specifically thanking them for the courage of their family members, but also offering support.
“Today, all of America wraps up and joins together. We close our arms to help you shoulder your pain and to carry your great, great sorrow,” President Trump said. “Your tears are not shed alone for they are shared grief with an entire nation.”
“And here, in this Pennsylvania field – we honor their sacrifice by promising to never flinch in the face of evil and to do whatever it takes to keep America safe,” President Trump said.
Gordon Felt, the president of Families of Flight 93 and a brother of one of the passengers, also spoke of the courage and loss of those passengers and their families. He also, however, looked to the future.
“We have to choose to actively remember. We have to choose to rise up and be better, as our loved ones did. If we choose to forget the lessons of 9/11 … we will become less honorable, less heroic, less free,” Felt said.
Many of the speakers commented on how now, there are students learning about the 9/11 terror attacks as a historical event, and not something from their lifetime. A common theme was also the idea of looking forward, of carrying on the legacy of those killed on Sept. 11, 2001.
“A message to the world,” President Trump said. “America will never submit to tyranny. Free people are never at the mercy of evil people, because our destiny is always in our hands.”
For some spectators, it wasn’t as much as a look at the future but rather, a recollection of where they were on the day that would forever remain in America’s history books.
“I was at work,” said veteran and spectator Jerry Waltz. “It was like the world stood still.”
The reflections on the past, and the marvelling toward the future, came together in Gov. Schweiker’s call to action for what we must do presently.
“The threats remain real, so we must remain vigilant and we must prepare a new generation of leaders,” Schweiker said.