STONYCREEK TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – The sacrifice of the Flight 93 heroes is the magnet that draws people from all over the world to Stonycreek Township in Somerset County.
Katie Cordek is a National Park Service Ranger and spokesperson for the Flight 93 National Park.
She says, “The area is very rural. It’s very quiet and it really adds to the memorial itself, in that it really brings the tone of Sept. 11 to a very personal level.”
Brooke Neel of the Friends of Flight 93 says you can see the impact on the faces of those who come.
“People really get the memories flooding back of where they were and what happened to them.”
They come every day of the year and will number almost a half-million in 2019. Sept. 11 is by far the biggest day and this year’s observance will be led by Vice President Mike Pence.
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If you are planning to be at the memorial tomorrow, KDKA’s John Shumway has everything you need to know.
First of all, security will be very tight, so all traffic will enter through the main entrance off Route 30.
Parking will be an auxiliary grass field on the north side of the property with everyone shuttled to security checkpoints. With the remembrance starting at 9:45 a.m. Cordek says, “arrive a minimum of an hour early.”
Because of the tight security, Ranger Cordek says there is a list of things you should leave at home with.
“Backpacks and umbrellas are the two off the top of the list.”
Add to that: coolers, selfie sticks, pets and chairs. You can get the rest of the complete list here.
After the music and speeches, there will be a wreath-laying at the wall of names and Cordek says then, “The ceremonial gate which is only opened once a year on Sept. 11 will be opened.”
WATCH: KDKA’s John Shumway report live
“Only family are allowed out to the crash site. They can come any day of the year, but the ceremonial gate is only opened once a year for family,” Neel adds.
Cordek says there is good reason the site is restricted to family only.
“It is the final resting place for those crew and passengers and for all intents and purposes, that is their cemetery,” Codek explains.
A final note: if you go early (park opens at 6 a.m. and it’s recommended you are there no later than 8 a.m.) it can be very chilly on that Stonycreek Township hilltop. So take along an extra layer that you can remove when the sun gets up and warms the memorial.