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.
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.
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.