Friday, April 17, 2015

In a field in Pennsylvania

On the trip home this past Monday, I had a special passenger with me who wanted to see the Flight 93 Memorial in Storystown, Pennsylvania.

It's really just a short drive off of the turnpike from either Somerset or Bedford, and worth the trip lest we forget what happened on September 11, 2001.

This is the place where United Flight 93, hijacked by terrorists who planned to fly it into the US Capitol, struck the ground as the passengers and crew fought to retake the aircraft. The monument here still under construction, is expected to be completely finished by September of this year. But most of it's complete now, including a small visitor center with a ranger who gives talks.
And there are signs with photos of the forty Americans murdered here that morning.
One name has always stood out to me.
Richard Guadagno was a Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Supervisor. He was authorized to carry a firearm and he had it with him on that day. But due to the laws and policies in effect on that day, he was not allowed to have it with him on board the aircraft, so it was in his checked baggage in the cargo compartment. One has to wonder if things would have turned out differently for forty people had he been allowed to carry it with him that day.

Today, there's a walkway out into the field where the plane hit the ground in a dive at 563mph. It left a crater 8-10 feet deep, but plane fragments were recovered from as deep as 40 feet below ground level. The hole has been filled in now, and a boulder marks the exact spot.
The walkway has niches where people can and still do leave mementos.
At the end of the walkway is a white wall with the names of those killed.
Without his gun on September 11, 2001.
You should have had this then, but I'll loan you mine now.
The walk back, surrounded by tranquil farmland, give you plenty of time to think.
The boulder marking the exact spot. It's covered with mementos, too.
And farther up the hill is the actual museum and visitor center, still under construction.
A close-up. When finished, this walled walkway will take visitors down towards the impact area. The walls are intended to put you in the place of those on board, as you'll be able to see nothing outside save the impact site getting closer and you walk along.
There will be a large museum with plenty of photos and artifacts when it's finally completed.

Now I'd been here before, but only way back when it was just a fence section in a field.

2007 Visit to Flight 93 Memorial

To me, that one was much more moving and real. But opinions vary.

I've also flown over and seen it from above on a couple of flights:

No matter how you see it though, you've got to see it. If only to remind us what America is up against. Remember this the next time that Barry Obama tells us that we don't have a problem with islam.


  1. Thanks for sharing. That was very moving and I remember that day very well. Kudos to you for the post!

  2. Thank-you for sharing these pictures and story.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I will visit.

    1. Let me know when you're up for the road trip.

  4. Great post! Did you see this article about the Ridgefield, CT K-9?

    Best to have a handkerchief at the ready...

  5. Replies
    1. Any time that you want to come up this way, I'll take you over there.

  6. If things go the way I hope, might could happen later this summer.

    1. Give me some notice and I'll set some things up, including local sights, some shooting and dinner with as many local blogger-types as can make it.

  7. Rest in peace Officer Guadagno.

    Fourteen years later and I still remember everything about 9/11/01 - not just the terrorist events, but the small details like emotions, what I wore, where I was working, my reactions...everything.

  8. I need to see that too ML.

  9. My wife and I made it out there three years ago. Looks the same, but the pathway is new since our visit. Thanks for the pics. Like Lauren: I remember that day like it was yesterday.