September 11 Memorial in Pennsylvania Breaks Ground for Visitors Center

Sep 10, 2013 11:08 am

Skift Take

This memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, needs to be on visitors’ itineraries just as much as the 9/11 memorial in lower Manhattan.

— Dennis Schaal

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Josh Noel  / Chicago Tribune/MCT

Each victim of the Flight 93 plane crash is memorialized on wall of white marble panels at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Josh Noel / Chicago Tribune/MCT

All of the money needed to establish, design and build the Flight 93 National Memorial is now in place.

The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, raised over $40 million for the project near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The organization made the announcement on Monday, shortly before today’s scheduled groundbreaking ceremony for the site’s visitor center complex. More than 110,000 individuals, foundations and corporations contributed to the cause.

“We thank and applaud the thousands of individuals and organizations that have helped us reach this profound moment,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “It is only through their support and generosity that the foundation is able to protect, enrich and honor the Flight 93 National Memorial and all of our country’s more than 400 national parks.”

The money raised will be used to develop a lasting shrine at the Somerset County, Pennsylvania, site where 40 passengers and crew members died when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by al-Qaida.

“Today’s announcement that funding for the Flight 93 Memorial is complete is a testament to the incredible work and dedication of the families,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat. “I was proud to work with the families and our bipartisan delegation to secure a federal commitment for the memorial. This memorial cannot fully encompass the extraordinary sacrifice that these families have made, but I’m confident that its completion will show one small measure of our gratitude towards them and the heroes of Flight 93.”

So far, the park includes a Memorial Plaza, Wall of Names, Memorial Groves and Field of Honor. Major reforestation work has been done.

The rest of the money will be spent building the visitor center complex, learning center and flight path memorial walls.

Even though the National Park Foundation’s capital campaign is complete, a philanthropic organization, the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, has been established to raise funds for the park’s operational needs and programming.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Dave_Sutor. ___

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