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“This peaceful place was not chosen by the terrorists — they had other targets for their violence and hate. This spot was chosen by the passengers of Flight 93, who spared our country from even greater horrors.”

— Former First Lady Laura Bush

The Story of Flight 93
Almost ten years after September 11, 2001 and the unthinkable terrorist attacks on symbolic American targets resulting in the loss of nearly 3,000 innocent lives, most Americans clearly remember the events of that fateful day.  They remember the coordinated hijacking of three commercial airliners that left the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City in ruins and a gaping hole in the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.  But do they remember the fourth hijacked aircraft, United Airlines Flight 93, bound for Washington, D.C., which crashed into an open field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all on board after a sustained struggle between the passengers and crew and their hijackers?

Ten years later, the country strives to honor those we lost that fateful day.  A memorial to those lost in the Pentagon is completed.  A memorial at Ground Zero in New York City is fully funded and on track to be completed in September 2011.  However, there is one memorial yet to be finalized.  The Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, though currently under construction, still needs to meet its ultimate fundraising goal in order to be completed.  Let us not forget these 40 heroes.  By completing this national memorial, we honor the courage and sacrifice of the flight that fought back.

Here is their story:

Three of the four hijacked flights departed on schedule on the morning of September 11, 2001. However, Flight 93 was delayed more than 25 minutes before departing from Newark, New Jersey en route to San Francisco, California. At approximately 9:28 a.m., less than one hour into the flight, four terrorists on Flight 93 overtook the cockpit, turning the plane southeast on a course directed toward Washington, D.C. Using airfones, passengers and crew began making calls to report the hijacking.  As they reached loved ones and authorities, they learned of the events in New York and Washington, D.C., and quickly realized that Flight 93 was part of a larger attack on America. This realization led to a vote and a collective decision to fight back.

In just over 30 minutes, they developed a plan and put it into action. They stormed the cockpit and, as revealed by the cockpit voice recorder, amid shouts, screams, and sounds of breaking glassware, several passengers and crew carried on a sustained struggle for control of the plane. In its final moments, the plane turned upside down before crashing into a rural field in western Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m. at a speed of 580 miles per hour.

Because of the quick and determined actions of the passengers and crew, Flight 93 was the only one of the four hijacked aircraft that failed to reach its intended target that day. Flight 93 was just 20 minutes flying time from Washington, D.C., and, had the passengers and crew not taken such decisive action, the plane would have been used to crash into the U.S. Capitol, causing unimaginable destruction and loss of life.  The passengers and crew showed unity, courage, and selflessness that enabled them to join together in an extraordinary way and make a profound difference that day.

“Thank you to the people who fought back and tried to save all the other people.”

— Child’s note

The passengers and crew of Flight 93 will be permanently honored at the Flight 93 National Memorial, set at the site where their final struggle ended in a rural field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  The Flight 93 National Memorial was created by an act passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush on September 24, 2002.  A design was chosen in 2005 through an open, international design competition and, since then, three-quarters of the $60 million in public and private funds needed to build the memorial have been secured.  Ground was broken on the first phase of the memorial in November 2009 and dedication of the memorial is planned for September 2011, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of September 11.


The National Park Foundation is the national charitable partner of the National Park Service.


Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign c/o National Park Foundation
1201 Eye Street, NW, Suite 550B, Washington, DC 20005
202.354.6488 / 202.371.2066 Fax / flight93memorial@nationalparks.org
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