Sunday, August 18, 2013

Flight 93 memorial

So I went to the flight 93 memorial site today and let me tell you it is a powerful place. An open field slowly being turned into a place of power. A place dedicated to average Americans who refused to surrender. Who accepted that yes, they were probably going to die but they were not going to die for nothing. They were going to take a stand against evil. 

This memorial is still a monument in the making and I am sure if I return in years to come that it will seem more each and every time I am there but for now.. We drove in along a long and winding drive that is soothing and picturesque. It shows the signs of recent planting.. 40 groves of 40 trees. Each representing one of the individuals who died that day. Once you arrive and are able to park your car, there are displays explaining exactly what happened. BUT for us there was also a National Park Ranger who described just what happened that day. Things I hadn't heard. 

Yes, we all know that the people on flight 93 chose to fight back. We all know that they died in the process.. what I didn't know was that they voted on whether or not to attack.. they made a united stand. I also didn't know that they waited.. They had made their decision to act but they waited until they were over open land, away from the cities to protect those on the ground. We know this because they were able to phone their relatives and tell them. I also didn't know that this act of heroism totally surprised the terrorists.. It seems that they were stunned that Americans (and yes one young man from Japan) were willing to fight back. That they succeeded was a testament to the human spirit. Not the American Spirit but the human spirit.. that inner something that is willing to stand up and shout.. I BELIEVE.. and these 40 individuals did just that.. 

Sure there were probably those who didn't want to attack, sure there were probably those who said to just let things happen as they did.. but when the chips were down they all stood together against tyranny, against terror. 

Once the ranger was finished we made our way down to the wall of names. This wall was not right next to the parking lot.. no, it was down a long path, about a mile long. As we walked upon what is now hallow ground we walked beside the ground where the plane's debris had flown... the final resting place itself on the other side of the wall.. encased in a field of flowers. You don't need to bring flowers to this memorial.. God Himself has presented them. Awash in a sea of yellow, you can't help but feel the power of this place.. You are allowed this time to reflect because the memorial was designed this way. There were children there, but they were not running and screaming.. no they too were walking that long path, somehow knowing that it meant something.. That ordinary individuals achieved greatness on this land. 

It is not hard to visualize that plane flying inverted barely making it over the hills before it crashed into the ground, tearing up grass and making a trench.. before stopping in front of a group of Hemlock Trees.. You can almost hear the cries.. smell the burning fuel... feel the heat on your face.. and when you stand there you don't see a field of flowers, a stand of trees or rolling hills no you see a miracle.. You see greatness..



  1. Oh, did you see the article on this in the Chicago Tribune today? Look it up--the article is lovely!

  2. Wow, Shauni! Thank you for this wonderful post. I haven't visited the site yet but would like to some day. Living so close to the Pentagon, that day still haunts me and rips a fresh hole in my heart whenever I think of the lives that were lost, especially the group of fifth graders that were aboard the plane that hit the Pentagon. I've watched the re-enactment films and I know what those brave folks did on Flight 93. I can only hope that if I'm ever in the same position that I can be as brave and put up a good fight against the evil that wishes to tear us down. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. xoxo