PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It didn’t take long for traffic to back up on the new two-mile highway near Shanksville Saturday morning as thousands were anxious to attend the dedication of the first phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial.
Almost 10 years ago, 40 passengers were aboard United Flight 93 when it was hijacked out of Newark, N.J., by terrorists. The passengers decided to retake the plane before it crashed into an open field near Shanksville in Somerset County.
“With almost no time to decide, they gave the entire country an incalculable gift,” said former President Bill Clinton during the dedication ceremony.
KDKA’s John Shumway reports:
“With the distance of a decade, 9/11 can feel like a part of a different era, but for the families of the men and women stolen, some of whom join us today, that day will never feel like history,” added former President George W. Bush. “One of the lessons of 9/11 is that evil is real and so is courage.”
Richard Brantner, a retired police officer, remembers hearing reports about the plane on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
“We were kind of allegedly waiting and hoping that Flight 93 would land at our airport and it never happened, of course,” said Brantner. “It changed the whole world.”
Brantner was among thousands of people who attended the dedication ceremony and to see the memorial.
Gordon Felt’s bother was on board the plane.
“Thrilled that the sacred ground is protected, and what goes through my heart is, I have a place to come and be with my brother, knowing that it will always be there and knowing it will always be protected and respected,” said Felt, of the Families of Flight 93.
KDKA’s Bob Allen reports:
Vice President Joe Biden talked to the families of the victims during his speech at the ceremony.
“They’re irreplaceable, I know that, they know that,” he said. “We know and I know that no memorial, no words, no acts can fill the voids that they left in your hearts.”
Calvin Wilson’s nephew, LeRoy Homer, was the co-pilot of the plane. Wilson and many others think everyone in the nation should visit the memorial.
“Something you’ve always looked for and something that you prayed for but to have it happen, you just can’t put it into words,” said Wilson. “It’s truly a special place and it’s special to everyone for different reasons. I just really encourage everybody, when they have a moment, to come out here and see what has been constructed.”
Flight 93 Memorial
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Flight 93 Memorial Dedication Speeches
Photo Gallery: Shanksville Dedication Ceremony Scenes
Photo Gallery: Flight 93 National Memorial Dedication Ceremony