SHANKSVILLE (KDKA) — Ground was broken Tuesday for the next phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial, a visitors’ center covering nearly 7,000 square feet.

“Being the person who on behalf of the families was responsible for literally acquiring the land that we’re standing on and going to break ground in today, it’s personally very gratifying,” said Patrick White, of Families of Flight 93.

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The center will tell the story of Flight 93, and allow visitors to learn from and about the 40 heroes who fought for their country on Sept. 11, 2001.

“It’s about taking control in a very difficult situation and making a choice that kept that plane from running into the U.S. Capitol,” said U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewel. “[They] are lessons that children can learn in the future, and hopefully, whether in this country or other countries, the story that’s told here will make the world a better place.”

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The groundbreaking comes on the eve of Sept. 11. And as night fell Tuesday, the memorial plaza was lit by 40 luminaries to honor those who gave up their lives 12 years ago.

“Tomorrow, we will gather to remember the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93, but today we focus on their legacy,” said Jeffrey Reinbold, of the Flight 93 National Memorial.

The visitors’ center is expected to be complete in September of 2015.

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