SHANKSVILLE (KDKA) — When the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 made the decision to try and retake the plane, the people on the ground in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County had no idea how their lives were about to change – forever.
“We are forever linked to that day,” says Rick King who owns Ida’s Store in Shanksville. “Shanksville will always be tied to it; our grandchildren will be reading about it in the history books seeing Shanksville in there.”
A member of Shanksville’s volunteer fire department, King will never forget arriving at the crash site on the first truck. He and his fellow firefighters arrived to help, to save lives, and found themselves in the midst of debris.
KDKA’s John Shumway reports:
“It was like, where’s the plane. I mean there was just pieces that you could pick up and put in the palm of your hand, just scattered everywhere.” King says 10 years later, it’s as if he saw it yesterday. “We will never forget that scene; we’ll never forget the smell of the jet fuel; we’ll never forget the feeling of helplessness, any of that. That will always be with us.”
Val McClatchey’s photo of the mushroom cloud which she titled “End of Serenity” is going to be included in the Ground Zero Memorial in New York.
“It’s going to be six-foot-by-nine-foot, and that’s amazing one picture,” McClatchey says.
She and her husband are trying to sell their home on the banks of Indian Lake, but she’s certain people will continue to seek out the house just as they have for the past 10 years arriving unannounced.
“They just pull in, walk up on the front porch, and snap a couple pictures of their own,” she says.
At the Shanksville – Stonycreek School campus, a memorial garden graces one side of the high school. Only the current juniors and seniors were here the day the school and the world shook.
Superintendent Thomas McInroy says the school embraces its role in history, but in context.
“People come they visit they pay their respects and they leave us, but our students see it every day, they live it every day and they want to be just known as kids, regular kids.”
Before there were commissions and bureaucracy, the backbone of the Flight 93 Memorial in the early days were the Flight 93 ambassadors.
The ambassadors have spent countless hours sharing the story of the heroes, but most of all they cherish the bonds they have formed with the Flight 93 families.
KDKA’s Trina Orlando has more on the preparations going on in Shanksville: