This Tuesday in September started like most Fall days in the
landscaping business, with our crew doing lawn work at a client's
home south of Pittsburgh. The day became extraordinary when the
client came out of the house to say one of the World Trade Center towers was
went back into the house and watched in awe as the scene unfolded on her
small kitchen television.
Our first thought was that an errant plane (initial news speculated it
was a small plane) went astray and
accidentally hit the skyscraper. As we continued to watch, the second tower was hit by a commercial
jet. At that point, we knew these were no accidents.
We listened intently to the radio while driving to our second
client's house. All US flights were quickly grounded, but there were
reports of a commercial jet passing near Pittsburgh, just to our
north. We watched the skies and continued listening to radio news
reports, but never caught a glimpse of United 93.
the following weeks, we learned the story of the brave passengers on
Flight 93 who fought back against their captors, sacrificing their
own lives in order to prevent another important target, and more
innocent lives, from being lost. That planned target could easily
have been the US Capitol Building, with our Congressmen being the
This web page is dedicated to the memory of the 33 passengers and 7
crew members on
Flight 93. The
photos below will give those who
haven't seen the temporary memorial an opportunity to sense what
it's like to visit Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Home of the Vikings
'A Friendly Little Town' Est. 1803
the Heroes of Flight 93
April 2, 2006
As my motorcycle journey drew close to the
memorial site, there was a special feeling that's hard to describe, the same feeling
a person gets when visiting hallowed ground
Gettysburg, or approaching 'The Wall' in Washington, DC. As these
photos clearly show, the individuals on Flight 93 are
not forgotten, and live on in many ways, shapes, and forms.
June 10, 2007
Return to Shanksville
An ordinary stop along the way at a Somerset
brought about an amazing conversation. A man in his 40's walked past
with his young daughter, as they headed into the store for a Kit
Kat candy bar. On their return trip, I struck up a conversation
with them about her pink shoes which were very similar to the
'Jellies' our daughter wore at 4-years-old.
After mentioning that my next stop was Shanksville (June 2007 photo of
the town is on left) he told me that
he was working outdoors in the scrap yard above the crash site the
day Flight 93 came roaring over at "telephone pole height" with its
wings dipping back and forth before its final rollover and high
plunge into the earth only a quarter-mile away. He said an older fellow was
cutting scrap with him and had taken his hearing aids out, but the
roar and explosion was so loud he thought a large, nearby gas line
His firsthand account cleared up two things: 1) it really did happen, and 2) it wasn't shot
down - he said there was another plane in the sky (A small passenger
jet) but that other plane was way off in the distance.
Amazingly enough, his little girl was born one year later, to the
day, on 9-11-02, a fact that still seemed amazing, even to him.
Whose Bible was it then?
My return visit to the Thunder on the Mountain chapel
provided an answer that I needed to research further. There
had been a local newspaper story (see below) about a Bible that
survived the fiery crash virtually unburned, and it reportedly
belonged to a young Japanese passenger named Toshiya Kuge. However,
according to Reverend Alphonse Mascherino at the chapel,
Kuge's mother had visited with him a couple times and knew of no
such Bible that her son possessed. If her son had owned the Bible,
she feels it would have been given back to her by the authorities,
and no Bible was ever returned. Therefore, the Bible must have
belonged to someone else. Later reports have indicated that Toshiya
Kuge was a Buddhist.
Bible mystery solved
During the ten-year anniversary of 911, we learned that the Bible in
question for all these years belonged to Don Peterson of Spring
Lake, New Jersey. Don and his wife Jean were scheduled for a later
flight - Flight 91 - but arrived at the airport early enough to
switch to Flight 93.
By chance, my visit coincided with a young lady who was
personally devastated on 9-11 when she lost a close childhood friend who
was a New York Firefighter, when the south tower collapsed.
During a period of reflection, she decided what artwork would
appropriately respect the remembrance. Below are photos of the custom painted car
she drives to the Shanksville Memorial every
CUSTOM PAINTED 9-11 CAR
THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY
OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH...
Flight 93 was 41 minutes late leaving Newark Airport for its planned
flight to San Francisco. This delay allowed time for the passengers
on Flight 93 to learn of the other three hijackings via their cell
phones, and realize their planned fate; being a passenger on a jumbo
jet that would be flown into the US Capitol Building in Washington,
DC, or perhaps even the White House.
As the Boeing 757 neared Cleveland, Ohio at 9:28am, it abruptly
changed course and turned southeast. Just before 10:00am the plane
was seen flying very low and erratically in the Pittsburgh area.
While traveling at an estimated 500 mph, the 757 crashed at 10:03am
into a reclaimed strip mine area in Somerset County, killing all 33
passengers, 7 crew and 4 hijackers.
Those gallant passengers and flight crew members of United Airlines
Flight 93 that on September 11th 2001 defeated the coward terrorist
hijackers and their intended purpose.
Blessed are the Peacemakers... for their heroism has allowed freedom
to go on ringing.
WE HONOR YOU...
WE ADMIRE YOU...
WE SALUTE YOU...
...AND WE SHALL NEVER FORGET.
MAY THIS LAND REMAIN FOREVER... AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL.
La Rioja, Villa Canales
Chicago to New York
9-11 Memorial Ride
Never Forget 9-11
BASE OF THE CROSS
America's 9/11 Ride Foundation,
FOR OUR HEROES
MEMORIAL ITEMS ATTACHED TO THE
MEMENTOS OF EVERY TYPE
MEMENTOS NUMBERING IN THE
Greater love has no one than
this, than to lay down ones life for his friends
IN THIS ROCK WE PERPETUALLY
COMMEMORATE THE COURAGE OF THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES ON UAL FLIGHT
#93 ON SEPTEMBER 11 2001
THEIR LEGACY WILL ENDURE
FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL BE REMINDED OF THEIR HONOR AND COURAGE.
DEDICATED BY THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL AIR MARSHAL SERVICE
SEPTEMBER 11, 2005
In MEMORY OF Flight 93
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Staff and Students of
Friedens Elementary School
The back of the flag is signed
by the students and staff
Hand painted rocks
Hats from everywhere
SOMERSET COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA
ANGELS OF FREEDOM
Few can begin to understand what drives men to such acts of
desperation, But the World must now know the resolve of this great
nation is both unshakeable and unstoppable.
This day ordinary Americans took extraordinary steps to help their
fellow Americans and by doing so gave the greatest sacrifice.
And so these Angels of Freedom stand not as a memorial to those who
died, but rather as a celebration of their lives for which we will
forever be in their debt.
God Bless the Families and Friends of The Heroes of September 11,
Eric and Tammy Pearson
SEPTEMBER 17, 2006
In a field...
in Shanksville, PA
away from everything for
miles around, people come
on Earth, over 5,000 people
every week to place a flag...
to write a note...
on anything available
including stones on the ground
40 people heroically
stopped an attack on America
and saved many lives LET'S ROLL
SYMBOL OF FAITH By Tom Lavis
October 22, 2001
Teams of emergency personnel who responded to the crash of United
Airlines Flight 93 near Shanksville made a discovery that shocked
and inspired them. Resting not far from the smoldering, 25-foot-deep
crater where 40 innocent victims perished, firefighters found a
Bible that was barely singed. Only minutes before, the area had been
a raging inferno as jet fuel ignited into a fireball when the plane
plowed into the earth.
It was later thought that the
Bible in the news article belonged to a 20 year old
The leather cover on the Bible was singed, but none of the pages were
Lampeter-Strasburg High School
Basketball Team plaque
HEROES OF FLIGHT 93
FLIGHT 93 AMBASSADORS One of the memorial volunteers
uses pictures to help visitors learn more about the events in
Shanksville on and
JEAN & DON PETERSON
who lived to love God and others until the very end. Let us do the
same. Craig, Andrea, Katrin & Anika Peterson"
The Bible that survived the crash
belonged to Don Peterson
"Perhaps they are
not the stars, but rather the openings in Heaven where the love of
our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know
they are Happy....."
ART STUDENTS FROM CHARLES COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN MARYLAND
We will never
forget our heroes
BEAR DEN 7
US Flag made from
BOY SCOUT TROOP
To the 40 "scouts"
on United Flight 93 ... We Will Never Forget!
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS Lorraine G. Bay
Sandy Waugh Bradshaw
Wanda Anita Green
CeeCee Ross Lyles
Deborah Jacobs Welsh
PASSENGERS Christian Adams
Todd M. Beamer
Alan Anthony Beaven
Deora Frances Bodley
Marion R. Britton
Thomas E. Burnett, Jr.
William Joseph Cashman
Georgine Rose Corrigan
Patrick Joseph Driscoll
Edward Porter Felt
Jane C. Folger
Colleen L. Fraser
Andrew 'Sonny' Garcia
Jeremy Logan Glick
Kristin Osterholm White Gould
Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas & Unborn child
Donald Freeman Greene
Richard J. Guadagno
Nicole Carol Miller
Louis J. Nacke II
Donald Arthur Peterson
Jean Hoadley Peterson
Mark David Rothenberg
Christine Ann Snyder
Honor Elizabeth Wainio
Reading of the Names September 10, 2011
(Begins at 6:20 mark of
THIS MEMORIAL IS IN MEMORY
OF THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES
TO SAVE SO MANY OTHERS.
THEIR COURAGE AND LOVE
OF OUR COUNTRY WILL BE
A SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND COMFORT
TO OUR GREAT NATION.
GOD BLESS AMERICA.
The following items
were on display at the
Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA
Flight 93 wreckage; piece of fuselage and seatbelt
curators from the National Museum of American History
Portable mass kit
and holy water vial used by Father Joseph McCaffrey. 'Father Mac'
provided spiritual support to security personnel as well as a few
family members of victims, at the crash site in Shanksville
Rosary beads and
Italian mascarero (maskmaker) created this mask from paper mache to
commemorate September 11 for Pittsburgh flag collector, Dr. Pete
the end of July 2008, the temporary Flight 93 Memorial moved across
the road from its original location, placing it less than 100 yards from the original temporary
memorial. Below are some August 13,
2008 photos of the new memorial.
The first temporary Flight 93 Memorial
was on the right side of this road, and the new one is on the left
The original temporary Flight 93
Memorial area still flies the flags of the USA and the State of
The new temporary Flight 93 Memorial is
very similar to the original except for a split rail fence surrounding the memorial
Temporary Flight 93 Memorial
August 13, 2008
Front of the memorial wall is filled
with mementos of every size and description
Back of the memorial wall has new shelf
areas where mementos have been left
Smaller medallions and mementos have
been left on top of this memorial stone
September 10, 2011 - This time, I used four
wheels instead of two for my drive to Shanksville.
Saturday's dedication ceremony was the first of two days
of dedication activities, marking the 10-year anniversary of the
Flight 93 crash.
It was a hazy early
morning where the windshield wanted to fog-up, as
mist still hung on the peaks around the Laurel Summit.
Within a mile of the new entrance off Route 30, traffic
came to a standstill at 8:00am. Nothing moved for
about 30 minutes, then traffic gradually moved forward
into the entry driveway, where it sat parked for another
45 minutes. The extremely muddy conditions in the
parking lots appeared to be causing the gridlock. Tri-axle dump trucks were lining-up to deliver gravel for parking
entrances into the muddy fields.
Cars, motorcycles and
buses were parked in various areas along the hillside
above the new memorial. Buses were used to shuttle
visitors from the parking lots to the bottom of the
hill. Nothing was moving very fast this morning, but
that was to be expected, along with the tight security
measures that had been promised.
Once through security,
visitors could see the large boulder placed to the left
of the walkway, marking the impact spot of Flight 93.
The walkway extended off into the distance, slanting
right as we approached the Wall of Names and area where
the ceremony would be held. The crowd continued to build
as the ceremony got underway later than anticipated. Two
other events were also planned for later in the day. The
haze and overcast yielded as the event proceeded, with
periods of sunshine and cumulus clouds.
trip to Shanksville has brought new knowledge, and this
trip was to be no exception. During the reading of the
40 names, we learned that passenger Lauren Grandcolas
was carrying an unborn child. Memorial volunteers will
continue to compile additional personal information
about the passengers and crew. Photos below will help
give you a feel for what the area looks like around the new memorial.
Flight 93 National Memorial
Looking left as you enter...
...and looking right.
Mud in parking areas
Run-off into a culvert from
recent heavy rains
Some cars needed
out of the fields
Hazy conditions persisted
Walking into the memorial
Flowers left in honor
A large boulder has been placed to mark
spot where Flight 93 impacted the ground
Flowers, flags and stones have been
left on or near the boulder
Former US Presidents Bush
and Clinton join VP Biden
Amazing Grace on
The US Navy Band
Sarah McLachlan performs 'I Will Remember You'
Bells used during the
reading of the names
Walkway leaving the memorial
Displays near the new
entrance of the
Flight 93 National Memorial
Flight 93 National Memorial - 15th Anniversary Ceremonies My vehicle and route have changed, but the road once again led
me to Shanksville for the 15th Anniversary Memorial Ceremonies. The
site has seen major changes and improvements over the years, so it
will require another visit in the future to spend adequate time
seeing the new Visitor Center displays.
Visitor Center and Wildflower plantings
A new video (linked below) shows both
ceremonies at the 15th Anniversary on September 11, 2016. Overnight
rain showers gave way to a cool, cloudy Sunday morning with the day
gradually brightening to partly sunny in the Laurel Highlands of
Pennsylvania. After parking in a lower parking lot near the Visitor
Shelter, I proceeded up the long walkway through the Memorial Plaza
toward the Wall of Names.
Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Wall of Names
As I passed near the Boulder marking the
impact site of Flight 93, powerful feelings infiltrated once again,
possibly unexpected ones, after four or five previous visits. There
is something so very real about that location it is hard to
describe. Referring to the area as "hallowed ground" is as close as
these printed words will come.
Flight 93 families gather at the impact site
following the Ceremonial Gate Opening
The significance of what those Flight 93
passengers did in defiance to the hijackers on that picture-perfect
day in 2001 became just as crystal clear when Pennsylvania Senators
Casey and Toomey delivered their remarks.
Casey, quoting the lyrics of AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL; "'Who
more than self their country love' ... maybe the best
description of their actions on that day. In that moment, that hour,
they had to prove themselves to be Patriots. We all hope we could do
the same. In that hour of horror they acted, like so many
generations of Americans before them on battlefields across the
world and indeed, on battlefields here in the United States. They
acted to save the lives of others."
Toomey, "..but in the face of that darkness, September 11th,
also reminds us of the best of humanity. So this place, this
memorial, their heroism, the memory, are all very personal for me
and my family. Like many, I believe the target of Flight 93 was the
US Capitol. I was working in the Capitol, as a member of Congress,
that day. And so it's entirely possible that because of the heroes
of Flight 93 I was able to go home to my family, my wife was spared
being widowed, our two older children grew up with their father, and
our youngest was able to be born."