Flight 93 Memorial 3.0

03Aug10

Flight 93 Memorial, August 2010
Flight 93 memorial Flight 93 Memorial, with construction underway in August 2010Visitors gather at the overlook, temporary Flight 93 Memorial, August 2010Temporary visitors center, Flight 93 MemorialMemorabilia sample, Flight 93 MemorialInside temporary visitors center, Flight 93 MemorialThe latest incarnation of the temporary Flight 93 memorial is now in place, shifted in early July from the vantage point it had held since shortly after the plane went down on the day of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The new location looks out over the construction that has begun on the permanent memorial, the first phase of which is expected to be ready in time for the 10th anniversary of the crash on Sept. 11, 2011. Above, a local volunteer answers questions from visitors to the site on Sunday, Aug. 1, when I spent half an hour there.

Flight 93 Memorial in August 2008Except for the continued labor of love by the volunteers from nearby Shanksville, Pa., and vicinity, the new site lacks the trappings and ambience of the earlier location (left). Gone from the viewing point are the hundreds of mementos left by visitors and the assortment of tributes that made it seem very personal. In recent years, banks of labeled benches — one for each of the 40 passengers and crew who died — provided seating for those listening to presentations by volunteers or the National Park Service rangers.

All that has been warehoused, awaiting the future visitors center.

The new site, called the western overlook by the Park Service, is closer to the actual crash site and the  work below. The older overlook  was closed because it was in the line of construction work for the new memorial.

The bare-bones setting of the new overlook seems not to have have deterred people from visiting; during the short time I was there early on a Sunday afternoon, about 150 people came and went.

The building now housing displays about the events of 9/11 was where the crash investigators set up their command center that day. When the full memorial is completed, a mile-long path will lead from the visitors center to the memorial, following the final flight path of Flight 93.

Weekly updates are available on the Flight 93 National Memorial site.

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