A $26 million visitor complex honoring the victims of Flight 93 will be dedicated and opened to the public on Thursday. The United Airlines plane was one of four hijacked by al-Qaida on Sept. 11, 2001, and the only flight that didn’t reach its target.
Passengers forced the terrorists in control of the plane to deliberately crash it in rural Pennsylvania. Forty crew and passengers were killed, along with the four hijackers.
Their presumed target was the U.S. Capitol.
Families of the victims got a preview of the memorial, located at the plane’s crash site in Somerset County, on Wednesday.
“We feel it does tell the story. It answers a lot of questions, and hopefully it also raises a lot of questions about what happened here,” Ed Root told pennlive. His cousin, Lorraine Bay, was a flight attendant on the plane.
Visitors to the memorial and museum, which is operated by the National Park Service, will see displays and artifacts commemorating all of the terrorist acts of Sept. 11, not just what happened on Flight 93. But the museum focuses on that plane’s passengers and their stories and includes portraits of all 40 victims, as well as recordings of cellphone calls to family members as the disaster unfolded.
The memorial was designed by Los Angeles architect Paul Murdoch and includes a black granite walkway meant to evoke the plane’s flight path and an overlook offering visitors a view of the crash site. A 93-foot display called Tower of Voices comprised of 40 wind chimes has yet to be built.
The memorial and visitors center opens 14 years after the attacks. Thursday’s dedication ceremony will include Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.