9/11 tragedy commemorated in Shanksville

Families, friends and honored guests congregated on September 11, 2010 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania to honor the memory of the 40 passengers and crew members lost in the flight 93 crash, nine years ago.

Of the four planes that were hijacked that day United Airlines Flight 93 was the only plane that did not reach its intended target because of the actions of people aboard the plane. Instead, the plane crashed near Shanksville, were the memorial will be built.

The ceremony began promptly at 9:30am. Joanne M. Hanley, Superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial, welcomed guests, followed by opening remarks by Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior.  After, Rev. Robert J. Way earmarked a prayer. The Somerset Volunteer Fire Dept. gave a posting of the colors which segued into the National Anthem performed by Laurel Highlands Chorale.

“We will never forget what they did above our skies and we will always remember them,” said Governer Edward G. Rendell.

Family members read aloud the names of their loved ones who were lost. As part of the ceremony, after each name was said the “Bell of Rememberance” was rung by Stonycreek-Shanksville alumni, whom were students at the time of the crash, Mathew Long and Laura Stautzman.

“It’s always good for me to see the family members and get a chance to see them again” stated Glenn Kashurba, author of “Courage After the Crash: Flight 93 Aftermath —An Oral and Pictorial Chronicle.”

Keynote speakers included former first lady Laura Bush and current first lady Michelle Obama.

Bush gave a speech citing her personal emotion and referencing her feelings towards the Flight 93 crash. The highlight of the ceremony was the oration given by Obama. Obama recited a proclamation citing quotes from children whom were affected by the crash.

“And I know that all the young people here have done their very best to be strong for their families, and to hold the memories of their loved ones close, and to live their lives in a way that would make them proud,” said Obama

The ceremony concluded with a closing prayer by Way and dismissal by Hanley.

“They acted as one and together changed histories course,” said Obama. “While this memorial begins here in Shanksville, it doesn’t end at the edges of this field. It extends to all those they saved, whose lives today are possible because they gave theirs… and most of all, this memorial extends to all their families, whose lives were shaped by their love.”

Publisher Altoona Collegiate Review
Published October 4, 2010