They said it was just a common field 19 years ago. It was open farmland surrounded by groves of trees in the middle of Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
On Sept.11, 2001, that common field became a field of honor. It is now home to the Flight 93 National Memorial.
Forty people died when the United flight out of Newark, New Jersey crashed in the tiny community of Shanksville. Evidence showed passengers stormed the cockpit after four terrorists took over the plane. The ensuing scuffle brought the plane down to the ground.
The 9/11 Commission Report concluded United Flight 93 was headed towards a target in Washington, D.C.
The 40 souls of Flight 93 probably saved countless more lives.
The memorial built up around the crash site is a tribute to their final minutes.
The Tower of Voices is the first thing some visitors will see as they enter the U.S. National Park. It’s a tall concrete and metal structure, filled with gigantic wind chimes honoring the sacrifice of the passengers.
Further in the park are two sleek concrete walls. Between them sits a museum and welcoming center dedicated to the history of Flight 93 and Sept. 11. A black granite walkway slices through the welcoming center and out into a field. The walkway marks Flight 93’s final flight path.
The path ends out in a field where a large boulder marks the crash site. It’s hallowed ground. No one is allowed near the boulder. A quiet walkway lets people walk by a white marble wall etched with the names of the passengers and crew.
“A common field one day, a field of honor forever,” is etched in several places.
It’s the site of the largest, if not the only victory in the United States on 9/11. Average Americans stood up to terrorism and saved the lives of others.