Reporting John Shumway
SHANKSVILLE (KDKA) – On Saturday, a dedication of the first phase of the Flight 93 Memorial will come following years of controversy about how to honor the heroic passengers.
It’s been designed with sensitivity to the Flight 93 families, but residents have been impacted in ways you might not realize.
The passengers of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to spare a fourth target from being hit on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s a terrible thing that happened here you know, but again if that plane was to crash anywhere, where it did [was] the place it should have,” Rick King of the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department said.
No lives were lost on the ground that day, but many lives changed around the site.
Over the past 10 years, the National Parks Service has taken almost 2,000 acres of Stonycreek Township off the tax rolls for the permanent memorial site.
That has forced a tax increase to cover the difference.
“It already has, yes. We were not planning to raise taxes, but between the government cuts and some of the losses we’ve had unfortunately, yes,” Shanksville-Stonycreek Schools Superintendent Thomas McInroy said.
Most residents would have preferred to keep the site simple.
“There is nothing we can do about that now. It’s totally out of our hands,” Eric Peterson said.
People have been drawn to the final resting place of Flight 93 since that tragic day nearly 10 years ago.
However, gone is the wall of tribute items left behind and symbols of thanks. Those items have now been placed in storage for possible display later.
Former Flight 93 Ambassador Cindi Yantus points out most visitors are coming for the first and probably only time.
“The people who come now will never know what there was before, so there’s nothing to miss,” Yantus said.