One of the biggest national tragedies in the United States history, the terrorist attacks on the morning of September 11, 2001, will live on in the hearts and minds of Americans for generations. During that tragic day, four commercial airliners were hijacked and used to strike targets in major U.S. cities, and nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, including 40 who died aboard United Airlines Flight 93 after successfully thwarting an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Instead of allowing the terrorists to make it to Washington, D.C., the 33 passengers and seven crew members aboard Flight 93 somehow fought back against the terrorists and made their plane crash down in a field outside of Shanksville in western Pennsylvania. A year after the tragic crash, a temporary memorial was dedicated to the victims, and nine years later, the official Flight 93 National Memorial was completed, commemorated, and opened to the public on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 on September 11, 2011.
The visitor's center, which is located on a hill overlooking the crash site and Wall of Names, was opened on September 10, 2015, and the "Tower of Voices," a 93-foot tall musical instrument comprised of 40 windchimes commemorating the victims of the crash, was completed and dedicated on September 9, 2018.
Visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial
Located 60 miles southeast of Pittsburg near the rural farm town of Shanksville along Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30), it will take you a little over an hour to get to the Flight 93 National Memorial. The entrance to the memorial is located at 6424 Lincoln Highway in Stoytown, Pennsylvania (11563). The park grounds are open year-round from sunrise to sunset daily, and the Visitor's Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Once you arrive at the Memorial grounds, which cover approximately eight and a half square miles, you'll first come to the Visitor Center Complex, which opened on September 10, 2015, and takes about 45 minutes to fully explore the exhibits, Flight Path Overlook, and the Eastern National bookstore. The Memorial Plaza—which features the crash site and debris field, the Wall of Names, and the Tower of Voices—is located a mile away and is accessible via two walking paths or by driving along Ring Road.
Visitors are welcome to leave small tribute items along the Wall of Names or at the base of the Tower of Voices, but they must be able to be hand-carried from the parking lot. The crash site and debris field are only accessible to family members of the victims of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash, but you can walk along the boundary of the site itself.
The Tragic Flight of United Airlines Flight 93
Forty ordinary people came together on September 11, 2001, for a cross-country flight from New Jersey to San Francisco on United Airlines Flight 93. However, when their plane was hijacked and turned around near Cleveland, Ohio, on a course for Washington D.C. and the U.S. Capitol, these 40 ordinary people showed extraordinary courage and selflessness.
It couldn't have been easy talking to their loved ones on the phone, learning that other planes had been hijacked that morning and crashed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, but instead of giving up, these 40 people—33 passengers and seven crewmembers—came together as one to lead the charge in the war against terrorism.
We'll never know for sure what happened when the passengers attempted to overpower the terrorists and storm the cockpit, but we do know the plane never made it to its intended target. Flight 93 crashed just after 10:00 a.m. on September 11, 2001, in a rural western Pennsylvania field, just outside of the tiny town of Shanksville. All 40 aboard died, but hundreds and possibly thousands of American lives were saved thanks to the heroes of Flight 93.
At a commemoration ceremony in Shanksville on the one-year anniversary of September 11, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, who was the governor of Pennsylvania at the time of the crash, hailed the passengers and crew of Flight 93 as "citizen soldiers" and heroes for their actions to prevent the aircraft from hitting its intended target by saying, "In a field in rural Pennsylvania, right prevailed over wrong and hope was born again."
The 40 Heroes of Flight 93
Christian Adams: The 37-year-old husband and father from Biebelsheim, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, flying to San Francisco for a wine-tasting event as part of his job as director of export for the German Wine Institute. Christian is survived by his wife, Silke; son, Lukas; and daughter, Theresa.
Lorraine G. Bay, Crew: A 37-year United veteran and senior flight attendant of Flight 93, Lorraine Bay, 58, from East Windsor, New Jersey, had chosen Flight 93 over another flight because it was non-stop. Lorraine is survived by her husband, Erich.
Todd Beamer: An account manager for Oracle Corporation, this 32-year old father of two was traveling to Redwood Shores, California, for a business meeting, and planned to return home on a red-eye flight that night. He is one of the more-famous heroes for his "Let's roll" statement made to the passengers as they prepared to overpower the hijackers. Todd Beamer is survived by his wife, Lisa; two young sons, David and Drew; and daughter, Morgan.
Alan Beaven: Alan, an environmental lawyer from Oakland, California, was headed to San Francisco to try a case before leaving on a planned year-long sabbatical to do volunteer work for the SYDA Foundation in Bombay, India. Originally born in New Zealand, Alan is survived by his wife, Kimi; daughter, Sonali; and two sons from a previous marriage, Chris and John.
Mark Bingham: The 31-year-old world-traveling, fun-loving owner of The Bingham Group in San Francisco, California, was heading home after a weekend in New York City on Flight 93. Mark is survived by his mother, Alice; father, Jerry; and step-mother, Karen.
Deora Bodley: A junior at Santa Clara University, in San Diego, California, 20-year-old Deora Bodley was returning home from a visit with friends in New Jersey and Connecticut. Deora is survived by her mother, Deborah; father, Derrill; and a half-sister, Murial.
Sandra W. Bradshaw, Crew: A flight attendant on United Airlines Flight 93, Sandy Bradshaw, 38, lived in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sandy is survived by her husband, Phil; daughter, Alexandria; son, Nathan; and stepdaughter, Shenan.
Marion Britton: Headed to San Francisco for a computer operations conference with fellow Flight 93 passenger, Waleska Martinez, 53-year-old Marion Britton was an assistant regional director for the U.S. Census Bureau in New York City. Marion is survived by her brother, Paul, and her half-brother, John.
Thomas E. Burnett, Jr.: The 38-year-old family man from San Ramon, California, was senior vice president and COO of medical devices company, Thoratec Corporation. Tom Burnett was a passenger on Flight 93, heading home from a business meeting in New Jersey and a weekend in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Tom is survived by his wife, Deena, and three young daughters, Madison, Halley, and Anna Clare.
William Cashman: This fun-loving Ironworker from West New York, New Jersey, was headed out west for a hiking trip in Yosemite National Park with his old friend, Patrick Driscoll. William, 60, is survived by his wife, Margaret.
Georgine Rose Corrigan: A hard-working mother and grandmother, Georgine Corrigan made her living buying and selling antiques, vintage jewelry, and clothing. She was returning home to Honolulu, Hawaii, where she lived with her daughter, Laura Brough, after an antique buying trip to New Jersey. Georgine is survived by her brother; daughter, Laura; and two grandsons.
Patricia Cushing: Mother of five, Patricia Cushing, 69, was traveling on vacation with sister-in-law Jane Folger on Flight 93. She was a retired service representative for New Jersey Bell and lived in Bayonne, New Jersey. Patricia is survived by her sons, Thomas, John, and David, and daughters, Alicia and Pegeen.
Jason Dahl, Captain: The Captain of United Airlines Flight 93, 43-year-old Jason Dahl was piloting that flight in order to have time off to take his wife to London to celebrate their wedding anniversary on September 14. Jason is survived by his wife, Sandy, and son, Matthew.
Joseph DeLuca: A trip to California wine county with his new girlfriend, Lindo Gronlund, put Joseph DeLuca on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. The 52-year-old computer program designer for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare lived in Succasunna, New Jersey. Joseph is survived by parents Joseph Sr. and Felicia, and his sister, Carol Hughes.
Patrick Driscoll: He retired in 1992 from his job as director of software development for regional Bell telephone companies and started traveling. Flight 93 was the start of a trip with friend and fellow Flight 93 passenger William Cashman to hike in Yosemite National Park, Patrick "Joe" Driscoll, 70, was from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. Patrick is survived by his wife, Maureen; sons, Stephen, Patrick, and Christopher; and daughter, Pamela.
Edward Porter Felt: A computer engineer for BEA Systems from Matawan, New Jersey, 41-year-old Edward Felt was taking Flight 93 to get to a business meeting in San Francisco. Edward is survived by his wife, Sandy, and daughters, Adrienne and Kathryn.
Jane C. Folger: Jane Folger, 73, a retired bank officer from Bayonne, New Jersey, was traveling to San Francisco on vacation with her sister-in-law, Patricia Cushing. Jane is survived by her sons, Robert, Thomas and Michael, and daughter, Kathleen.
Colleen L. Fraser: A passionate lobbyist for the disabled, Colleen L. Fraser, was born with an inherited bone disorder that kept her height at 4 feet, 6 inches, and made it a little harder for her to get around. The 51-year-old from Elizabeth, New Jersey, served as executive director for Progressive Center for Independent Living, and vice chairwoman of the New Jersey Developmental Disabilities Council and was on her way to a grant-writing seminar in Reno, Nevada. Colleen is survived by her sister, Christine; brother, Bruce; two stepsisters and six stepbrothers.
Andrew Garcia: He was 62, but most people wouldn't have believed it if they met him. Andrew Garcia kept active, both physically and mentally, and loved to play tricks on people. The President and founder of Cinco Group, Inc., Andrew was returning home from a business meeting on September 11, 2001. Andrew is survived by his wife, Dorothy; daughters, Kelly Garcia and Audrey Olive; and son, Andrew.
Jeremy Glick: This fun-loving sales manager for Vividence, Inc. lived in Hewitt, New Jersey, with his wife, Lyzbeth and infant daughter, Emerson. Jeremy Glick was on his way to California for a business trip. Jeremy is survived by his wife and daughter.
Lauren Grandcolas: A 38-year-old advertising sales consultant for Good Housekeeping magazine, Lauren Grandcolos was returning home on Flight 93 from her grandmother's funeral in New Jersey. She is survived by her husband, Jack.
Wanda A. Green, Crew: The United Airlines flight attendant also worked as a real-estate agent and had plans to open her own real-estate office. Wanda Green, 49, was from Linden, New Jersey, and is survived by her son, Joe Benjamin, and daughter, Jennifer.
Donald F. Greene: Executive vice president and chief financial officer of Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, Donald Green, 52, lived in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was on Flight 93 on a trip to join four of his brothers for a hiking trip before attending an aviation industry convention. Donald is survived by wife, Claudette; son, Charlie; and daughter, Jody.
Linda Gronlund: It was to be a short business trip and then a birthday tour through California wine country with boyfriend, Joe DeLuca, but for 47-year-old Linda Gronlund from Greenwood Lake, New York, it didn't quite work out that way. The manager of environmental compliance for BMW North America, Linda is survived by her mother, Doris; father, Gunnar; and sister, Elsa Strong.
Richard Guadagno: A longtime employee of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Rich Guadagno was employed as manager of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Service. He was headed home to Eureka, California, after celebrating his grandmother's 100th birthday. Rich is survived by his parents, Beatrice and Jerry, and sister, Lori.
LeRoy Homer, Jr., First Officer: A graduate of the Air Force Academy and veteran of the Persian Gulf War, First Officer LeRoy Homer, Jr., 36, was in his sixth year with United Airlines. LeRoy is survived by his wife, Melodie, and a young daughter, Laurel.
Toshiya Kuge: Following a summer vacation in America and Canada, student Toshiya Kuge was headed back for his second year of college in Japan when he boarded Flight 93. The 20-year-old from Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, was a sophomore at Waseda University in Tokyo. Toshiya is survived by his parents, Yachiyo and Hajime.
CeeCee Lyles, Crew: Former police officer and United Airlines flight attendant CeeCee Lyles was a 33-year-old wife and mother from Fort Myers, Florida. She is survived by husband, Lorne, and sons, Jerome Smith, Jevon Castrillo, Justin Lyles, and Jordan Lyles.
Hilda Marcin: Born Hildegarde Zill in Schwedelbach, Germany, Flight 93 passenger Hilda Marcin was a retired teacher's aide and bookkeeper from Mount Olive, New Jersey. She was traveling on Flight 93 to California to live with her younger daughter, Carole O'Hare. Hilda is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth and Carole.
Waleska Martinez: She was traveling with co-worker Marion Britton to a computer operations conference in San Francisco when Flight 93 went down in Shanksville. The 37-year-old Puerto Rican from Jersey City, New Jersey, worked as a supervisory computer specialist for the New York regional office of the U.S. Census Bureau. Waleska is survived by parents, Juan and Irma Martinez; brothers, Juan Jr. and Reinaldo; and sister, Lourdes Lebron.
Nicole Miller: A 21-year-old senior at West Valley College in San Jose, California, Nicole Miller was returning home after a vacation in New York and New Jersey with her boyfriend, Ryan Brown. She is survived by her mother, Cathy; stepfather, Wayne; father, David; stepmother, Catherine; sister, Tiffney; half-sister, Danielle; and half-brothers, Wayne and David.
Louis J. Nacke, II: A distribution manager for Kay-Bee Toys, Lou Nacke, 42, from New Hope, Pennsylvania, was on his way to Sacramento for a business trip. He is survived by wife, Amy, and sons, Joseph Nicholas and Louis Paul II.
Donald Peterson: Half of the only married couple on Flight 93, Don Peterson, 66, was a retired president of Continental Electric Company. He worked with his wife, Jean, as a church and community volunteer in their town of Spring Lake, New Jersey. The couple was on their way to a family reunion at Yosemite National Park. Don is survived by his sons, David, Hamilton, and Royster Peterson; and stepdaughters, Jennifer Grace and Catherine Hoadley.
Jean Hoadley Peterson: Wife of Don Peterson (above), Jean Peterson also devoted herself as a church and community volunteer and was a retired nurse and nursing teacher. Jean is survived by her daughters, Jennifer Grace and Catherine; and stepsons, David, Hamilton, and Royster Peterson.
Mark Rothenberg: Called Mickey by his family and friends, Mark Rothenberg was on his way to Taiwan to conduct business for his company, MDR Global Resources. The 52-year-old from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, is survived by his wife, Meredith, and daughters, Sara and Rachel.
Christine Snyder: Native Hawaiian Christine Snyder, 32, worked as a certified arborist for The Outdoor Circle, a nonprofit environmental group. She was returning home to her husband, Tom, in Kailua, Hawaii, after attending the American Forestry Conference in Washington, D.C. and a visit to New York City.
John Talignani: Retired bartender John Talignani, from Staten Island, New York, was headed to California on Flight 93 to claim the body of his stepson, Alan Zykofsky, who had just died in a car crash. John is survived by his stepsons, Mitchell and Glenn.
Honor Elizabeth Wainio: A 27-year-old regional manager for Discovery Channel stores from Watchung, New Jersey, Honor Wainio was on her way to a company-wide business meeting on September 11, 2001. She is survived by her father, Ben; mother, Mary; stepfather, Jay; brother, Tom; and sister, Sarah.
Deborah Ann Jacobs Welsh, Crew: Debbie Welsh, the 49-year-old United Airlines flight attendant who served as purser on Flight 93, was a native of New York City. She is survived by her husband, Patrick.
Kristin Gould White: This freelance medical writer from New York City was on her way to visit friends in California. Kristin, 65, is survived by her daughter, Allison.