SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (KDKA/AP) — A new visitor center has been dedicated on a Pennsylvania hill overlooking the site where United Airlines Flight 93 came down during the 9/11 attacks.
The visitor center is at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville.
It uses photos, video, artifacts and interactive displays to tell the story of how passengers and crew fought to regain control of the plane. The hijackers are believed to have wanted to crash it into the U.S. Capitol.
It took 14 years and nearly $40 million, but on the day before the anniversary of the attacks, the Flight 93 Visitor Center opened to the public.
Perched atop an abandoned strip mine, now a national site of honor in history, the Flight 93 Visitor Center opened its doors to the families of the victims.
An outdoor platform offers a commanding view of the crash site where 33 passengers and seven crew members were killed.
“I get what the designer wanted to do; it’s phenomenal,” said Ken Nacke, the brother of one of the passengers on the plane.
Nacke lost his brother on United 93. He and the families of other passengers and crewmembers were the first to look inside at the displays that tell the tale of Flight 93 and 9/11.
“You can come through here, get a walk through, get a sense for the events of that day, how they transpired,” said Nacke.
Displays include artifacts of the flight that fought back; mostly personal items as well as commonplace things like silverware that’s were twisted by the impact that shook the ground 14 years ago.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said at Thursday’s dedication that the center captures “the real honor of the 40 and what they did.”
Jerry Guadagno lost his son and Lori Guadagno lost her brother on Flight 93.
“Everything I expected and maybe a little more,” said Jerry.
“It’s important; it needs to be here,” added Lori.
The displays answer so many questions about that horrible day. However, Nacke says that when visitors walk out of the center, one very personal question remains.
“I look around and say, ‘Could we act like they did? Would we act like they did?’” said Nacke. “And I would hope everyone’s answer would be yes.”
Friday is the 14th anniversary of the attacks.
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