Published March 30, 2011
On Sept. 11, 2001, the United Flight 93 crash site was the first battlefield in the war on terror.
Ten years later, the wounded landscape near Shanksville, Pa., will become the site of a national memorial honoring those who fought and died aboard that flight. Family members of the 40 passengers and crew members lost on United Flight 93 are taking action to ensure their loved ones' heroism is not forgotten, by telling federal officials of the immediate needs and long-term planning goals of the memorial.
This month, they urged members of Congress to approve an additional $3.7 million in funding for the memorial as outlined in President Obama's 2012 budget.
Patrick White, who lost his cousin Louis Joseph Nacke II on Flight 93, tells Fox, "although we know these are very tough economic times, this is a type of a project that is so symbolic and so representative of finding closure it's imperative to complete it as soon as possible."
The memorial is being built in three phases. The total cost of the first phase, is expected to be 60 million dollars. Final costs for phases two and three have not yet been determined. $20 million has been raised privately, the state of Pennsylvania is giving $18.5 million and Congress has already provided $10 million. Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA) spoke with Fox about the funding of the project saying, "We had a few snags, but I think on the whole not only the Bush administration, but Obama administration and both Democratic and Republican majorities in the Congress has supported building this memorial."
"We had a few snags, but I think on the whole not only the Bush administration, but Obama administration and both Democratic and Republican majorities in the Congress has supported building this memorial."
Once completed, the permanent memorial will include 40 groves of trees to commemorate the lives of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93, along with a massive entrance called "The Tower of Voices." The tower will feature 40 large wind chimes that rise 93 feet into the sky. The chimes were designed to be evocative of, and a tribute to, the sound of the wind and voices aboard the plane during its final moments.
On the 10-year observance of the terrorist attacks, visitors will be able to walk up to a stone and slate plaza that will offer a closer-than-ever viewing position of the crash site known as "The Field Of Honor."
Kevin Newlin, superintendent of the site, shared the vision with Fox News on a recent tour of the site saying, "You come through that wounded landscape, come through a wetland that's healing, has lots of natural life in it and then you start a walk along this debris field, you start to think about the last seconds of this plane, you think about what these people did on the plane that day. It's the last seconds of where the plane was.
:It was coming right toward us at a deafening sound upside-down, backward and then into the ground and then just smoke, explosions and then just silence."
Gordon Felt, who lost his brother on that flight, says one way he has been able to move forward and live with the pain of his loss is to work to “ensure that there is a proper and fitting memorial to the actions and the individuals on Flight 93,” and to know that after years of hard work, the memorial will be dedicated in the coming months.
The development being built around the impact site will offer visitors an area to pay their respects along the "Wall Of Names" of those lost. The wall symbolically follows the flight path moments before impact and will eventually house 40, 8-foot tall slabs of marble, one for each passenger or crew member on board.
Construction is on target for this portion to be unveiled Sept. 10, 2011, the day before the permanent memorial is dedicated. A temporary memorial, which remains open during construction, brings in more than 100,000 visitors each year, and National Park officials anticipate attendance numbers to double or triple once the permanent memorial opens.
Deborah Borza, who lost her daughter aboard Flight 93, says she hopes her daughter's memory will live on.
"My daughter loved children, and I really look forward to the countless number of children that come through the memorial to be educated and will take something off into their lives as they grow older."
Family members say approval of the additional federal funding will pave the road to completion and will help the nation continue to heal.