Today, we remember what happened 19 years ago.
I was 8 years old on September 11, 2001. I remember that day very well. I can remember waking up, and going down stairs to eat my breakfast. I looked over the staircase to find my whole family in our living room. Everyone was sitting there in silence. In shock. I remember watching as they showed the first plane crash into the twin towers. Then again as the second plane crashed. Then there was a report of plane crashing into the Pentagon. And again, one in PA, only an hour from our home. I remember feeling scared, wondering if they’d keep getting closer.
In June, we were able to go to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. Some of our out of town family were here visiting, and we have always wanted to go. 19 years have passed since that day, and there is so much that I still have to learn about what happened. We were able to go inside the museum, walk the flight path, see the memorials, and the tower of voices which was not yet completed. It is such a gorgeous place, yet so sobering to know what happened there.
Probably what struck me the most, was learning how short of a period of time it was from when the plane was hijacked, to when the passengers decided to give up their lives to potentially save thousands.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
We will always remember. <3
Some notes if are planning to visit the Flight 93 Memorial:
If you are planning to visit the memorial one day, I have some tips for you. Plan to be there for a minimum of 2 hours. The museum alone, if you read everything inside, will take you at least an hour. Currently, all of their tours and lectures are on hold due to Covid, but the museum tells you everything you could possibly want to know. Inside the museum, there were several interactive displays that were all turned off so not to spread germs during this time. I imagine you could spend much longer than an hour in the museum once they are turned back on.
Expect to walk a lot. The flight path itself isn’t too long, but you can walk from the museum to where the boulder is where the plane crashed, on a gravel hiking trail. The trail is almost 3 miles if you walk the whole thing. You can drive to each location, but there is still quite a bit of walking to do.
Pack a lunch! There is a picnic area with tables right next to the museum parking lot. Shanksville is so gorgeous, and picnicking there was so peaceful.
Don’t miss the Tower of Voices! They have built a tower that will eventually have a chime for each person who died on Flight 93 that day. It is not near the museum or the flight path, so it would be easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it. While it wasn’t fully operational when we were there, (you could only see it and not hear the chimes), they expected it to be completed by 2021.
There are other overlooks with signs along the road, so be sure to stop and read them as well. If you want to see everything, and walk the trail, I would plan to spend at least 4 hours there. Next time we go, we’ll plan to spend the whole day, for sure.
Lastly, take some tissues. Reading about the bravery of the men and women on the plane, and the fast decisions, phone calls, and goodbyes…its enough to bring anyone to tears.