WJAC-TV: 9/11 Heroes Honored at Flight 93 National Memorial
Eleven years ago, a group of 40 passengers and crew members boarded United Flight 93 as strangers, then worked together to overpower hijackers, sending the plane into the field near Shanksville.
At 10:03 a.m. — the moment Flight 93 crashed — the names of the passengers and crew members were read at the Flight 93 National Memorial. Bells of Remembrance were rung by members of the Families of Flight 93 and community members who assisted in the aftermath of 9/11.
United Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was hijacked by four terrorists. The 9/11 Commission said the terrorists likely wanted to crash the plane into the White House or the U.S. Capitol, but the jet went down in a field near Shanksville after passengers fought back.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said the ground will forever be preserved and protected for the heroes of Flight 93.
Vice President Joe Biden delivered keynote remarks at the memorial. Biden said it was a genuine honor to be back at the site, but said it was a bittersweet moment as he wished no such terror had occurred on 9/11.
Biden said no matter how many anniversaries pass of that day, he said “for at least an instant, the terror of that moment returns.”
He told the families that the bravery their loved ones displayed is forever etched in the minds of people nationwide.
“I also hope it continues to give you some solace that … that they’re not forgotten,” Biden said, asking that God bless the souls of the 40 people, “Who rest in this field.”
The program closed with the laying of a wreath and the closing of a ceremonial gate. Loved ones walked from Memorial Plaza to the site where Flight 93 crashed.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited the memorial for the first time, paying his respects to the 40 passengers and crew members who died during the terrorist attacks.
Panetta walked down to the wooded area where the plane crashed and met with relatives of people who were on the plane. He said the memorial “is the final resting place of American patriots.”
In New York, a moment of silence to marked the moment that the first hijacked jetliner crashed into the World Trade Center. For the first time in New York, only family members were to speak at the anniversary ceremony. Elected officials had spoken in past years.
In Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama laid a wreath at the Pentagon. Aided by a Marine honor guard, Obama place a white floral wreath on a metal stand above a concrete slab that said “Sept. 11, 2001 – 937 am.” A moment of silence there began at precisely 9:37 a.m.
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