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If you would like DVD copy of the memorial service or TV specials contact me.
Mark Wahlberg & Flight 93 | Program | Pictures | Passengers and Crew Members | My Summary | Word Trade Center Page

Updates for the Last Month

5/6/08 - Added a scan of a Police Procession to the Site with DCFD plate on SUV.
4/29/08 - Added a scan of Hugs near the ceremony tent.
4/22/08 - Added a scan of the Army Officer Presenting the Wreath
4/15/08 - Added a scan of the Army Officer Saluting the Wreath.
4/8/08 - Added a scan of the Army Officer Shaking Hands


National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

United in courage, 
community & commitment
Fifth Anniversary Commemoration Service

Honoring the Passengers & Crew of
Flight 93

September 11, 2006

A common field one day. A field of honor forever.

May all who visit this place remember the collective acts of courage and sacrifice of the passengers and crew, revere this hallowed ground as the final resting place of those heroes, and reflect on the power of individuals who choose to make a difference.

 Flight 93 National Memorial
Preamble to the Mission Statement

Prelude Music - United States Army Brass Quintet

Welcome - Superintendent Joanne M. Hanley
                   Flight 93 National Memorial, National Park Service

Invocation - Rev. Robert J. Way
                     Good Shepherd Cooperative, Lutheran Ministries, Shanksville, PA

Presentation and Posting of the Colors - Joint Armed Forces Color Guard, Military District of Washington, DC
                                                                   America the Beautiful - Sgt. First Class Caleb Green, United States Army Chorus

Remarks - D. Hamilton Peterson, President Families of Flight 93
                   General Tommy Franks, Honorary Co-chair, Flight 93 National Memorial Capital  Campaign
                   Governor Edward Rendell
                   Congressman Bill Shuster

Moment of Silence - Rev. Paul M. Britton, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Huntington Silence Station, NY; Brother of  passenger
                                   Marion Britton

Name Presentation Ringing of the Bells of Remembrance - Captain Stephen J. Ruda, City of Los Angeles Fire Department
                                                                                                    Trooper James Broderick, Pennsylvania State Police
                                                                                                    Douglas Custer, Stoneycreek Township Supervisor

Musical Selection - Steps to Peace, composition by Derrill Bodley (in memory), father of passenger Deora Bodley
                                 Introduced by Nancy Magnum-Bodley
                                 Performed by Joe Negri (electric guitar) and Max Leake (piano)

Remarks - Senator Rick Santorum
                   Senator Arlen Specter

Speaker - Message from Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne read by Joanne Hanley.

Retire the Colors

Closing Prayer & Benediction - Rev. Britton

Closing Remarks & Instructions for Dismissal - Superintendent Joanne M. Hanley

Musical Selections - The North Star Kids and Spring Valley Bruderhof Children's Choir 'I am but a Small Voice' 
                                   'Let there be Peace on Earth' (guests are invited to join in singing) 


Aerial scan of the memorial with my notes


On the way
Quality Inn Sign - Somerset
Massive flag behind the hotel

Homemade wooden Flight 93 sign on Lambertsville Rd
Sign pointing to the Temporary Memorial - flag on a field
Official Park Sign
Flight 93 Memorial 3 Miles Sign
Around the Memorial
The cranes working on the final hill
Where the last people to see the plane before it crashed were.
The Memorial from the road
In the far background is the tent where the ceremony was held.
Firefighters Chicago to New York Memorial Ride Rock
America's 9/11 Ride Foundation Inc. stone

Let's Roll Rock from Colorado

Oxford, MI 9/11 Memorial Run stone

Rows of motorcycles

Let's Roll Memorial Ride Sticker on one Bike

The Memory Rock by Head Start
Air Marshal's Service Stone
  Large wooden cross
People attach things to the base as can be seen near the bottom.
The Large Flags on the left of the Memorial
This is where they had the ceremony in 2007 year.
Condi Rice for President 2008 bumper sticker 
It was on an Ohio car a full 2 years before the election.
The Memorial

Angels of Freedom explanation poem

Angels Grouping Left Side.
1st 3 Angels Close up - Christian Adams, Lorraine Bay, Todd Beamer
Tom Burnett's angel

12 of the metal Angels in the middle
Angels grouping from the left side
Angels Grouping on the Right Side
View of the Memorial from the Crash Site
Toys Left Behind
Painting of a plane and license plates
Police, Fireman and EMS patches
Small Flags along the Top of the Memorial
Large Flags along the top of the Memorial
People looking at the ride side of the Memorial
The New York to Chicago Signed Memorial Ride flag
Courage Rock

Top left corner with a Flight 93 flag
The Flag of Names
I Wish I Could Trade Places with Them - sign by Henry Scharf of Nevada
Memorial Stone with all the Names
Let's Roll Memorial Stone from Herbert Erdmenger of Guatemala
Back of The Memorial

The Last Hill Flight 93 flew over
Guardrail at the memorial that has stickers and notes from people.
A Pond to the left of the crash site
Pond to the left close up
The Final Hill 93 flew over with a nearby pond

These are hard to get pictures of because people are always sitting on them.
Patricia Cushing & CeeCee Lyles
William "Billy" Cashman & Todd M. Beamer
Joseph DeLuca & Linda K. Gronlund

The Final Resting Place
The Final Resting Place closer - where the flag is
The Final Resting Place with people looking toward it.


Angels with Flags Added on the left side
Angels with Flags Added on the right
All Angels with Flags and 2 people checking them
Flight Attendants paying their respects to the Angels with the ceremony tent in the distance
Flags at Half Mast
Shanksville Fire Department Jacket
Bells they ring during the reading of the names of each victim
Army Ranger placing his personal coin on a monument
South Africa memorial Stone
Ohio Medina Hog Chapter 2005 Rock
For Our Heroes of 9/11 Rock
Army setting up next to the bells
Close Up of Soldiers during coin laying ceremony
In Remembrance Sign
The Memorial with a Sheep toy
Flags Flying Over the Memorial on 9/11
People setting up flags and reporters tent near the Memorial on 9/11
Larger Let's Roll Memorial Stone from Herbert Erdmenger of Guatemala
Large US Flag at the Memorial
Media Trucks
Army Officer Presenting the Wreath
Army Officer Saluting the Wreath
Army Officer Shaking Hands
Army Speech
Hugs near the ceremony tent
Police Procession to the Site with DCFD plate on SUV

The Flight 93 Lodge #98 - Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Somerset, PA
Limited Edition Patch 1 of 200
Silver metal lapel pin
T-shirt - front breast logo with Made in USA tag to show the size
T-shirt - back large logo 'Honoring Those Who made the Ultimate Sacrifice'

Flight 93
Passengers and Crew Members

Christian Adams Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas
Lorraine G. Bay Wanda Anita Green
Todd Beamer Donald Freeman Greene
Alan Anthony Beaven Linda Gronlund
Mark Bingham Kristen White Gould
Deora Frances Bodley Richard Jerry Guadagno
Sandra Bradshaw LeRoy Homer
Marion R. Britton Toshiya Kuge
Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. CeeCee Lyles
William Joseph Cashman Hilda Marcin
Georgine Rose Corrigan Waleska Martinez
Patricia Cushing Nicole Carol Miller
Jason M. Dahl Louis J. Nacke III
Joseph DeLuca Donald Peterson
Patrick Joseph Driscoll Jean Hoadley Peterson
Edward P. Felt Mark Rothenberg
Jane Folger Christine Snyder
Colleen Fraser John Talignani
Andrew Garcia Honor Elizabeth Wainio
Jeremy Glick Deborah Welsh

My Summary


    On the way there the main thing that hits you is there is nothing around. Even though Pennsylvania is a big northeast state, it could be anywhere in the deep south or west where there are mountains, so many that there were four tunnels through them on the way in. Around that is mostly farm covered areas. The next thing I noticed were there were no planes around. This is not on a traffic pattern to reach anything. I could imagine it must've been a huge noise with a 757 blasting through the skies at low altitude banking back and forth and descending rapidly would've been heard and seen by anyone looking. A tiny town like 1000s of others suddenly and forever put on the map. The nearby town of Somerset is the big town, like you'd expect with every major fast food store, Wal*Mart, town square - you name it. There is nothing like that in Shanksville. More people visit the memorial in a few hours than live in the entire town.
At our hotel the flashing sign out front at one point reads "Welcome 911 Friends & Family". It's a bid odd to be labeled as a "friend of 911". It's just a weird way of wording it. Families and supporters of Flight 93 would be more like it. The nearby fraternal order of police lodge #98 in Somerset was renamed last month to the Flight 93 lodge since many of those men were first responders at the crash site. In the lobby they had a great looking, high quality, limited edition patch, pin and t-shirt. I bought them all since proceeds went to the memorial. Behind the hotel is a massive ceremonial flag that looks amazing with the big blue open sky behind it.
    Rt 281is the main road that leads to the site. It's a typical long straight road with houses, a school and even an airport on either side. There was even a sign for a corn maze for Halloween. Nothing stands out except for the occasional house with many American flags and a sign for Flight 93. After a few miles you make a right on Hwy 30 and soon after you see the first sign. An official blue metal state highway version that reads "Flight 93 Memorial 3 ->" At the right turn for Lambertsville Rd. is a colorful sign on the left that reads Flight 93 Temporary Memorial -> from 2002. It features a flag on a field. Like the memorial, this sign is temporary and someday will be gone. On the right hand sign is a large homemade wooden sign that simply reads "Flight 93" in white with a blue cutout of a large plane underneath it and a red arrow hanging underneath. This road is very small like any typical residential street in the country and I can only imagine the overnight change to the area where they now get more traffic in a week than probably they have had in their entire history.
    Then there's another blue sign pointing one mile to the right and another temporary sign. This final road Skyview is something new for the memorial. It cuts through fields where there is nothing to be seen. It dips down and then goes up where nothing in front can be seen. Then you pop over the horizon and all is spread out below. It's a coal mining area, so nothing resembling houses or habitation is evident. Far, far to the left are massive cranes with huge housings, the biggest I've ever seen and one has an American flag flying from it. There is a lake far below to the left and one straight ahead. People begin to park on the side of the road and the memorial can be seen below to the right.
You find a place to park and walk down. The only other man made things around are the port-o-Johns. The weather was perfect - sunny, warm and breezy. As you get closer the natural sounds take over. There are no sounds of cars, planes, trains, nothing man made. Soon it is just crickets and creatures of the field. On the left is a small open parking lot, straight ahead the road leads down far and wraps around to the ceremonial tent and past that leads to the crash site. Across the field to the right is the crash site which is off limits to all but officials and family members and is listed as being guarded 24 hours a day by police.
    To the right is another small lot with guardrails on each side. These rails have also become memorials with hand written notes sprawled across them and stickers of support placed around. At the end of the lot is a little brown building like you might see in any state park. It has a simple wooden sign on it with an arrowhead logo "National Park Service - Department of the Interior" and Flight 93 National Memorial next to it. The building is small, like a tollbooth and doesn't house anything except for brochures about the future memorial on a gray countertop. These are also in a stand outside. Across from the door is a table with two books for people to sign. Many people were signing it. It's weird writing something deeply personal in such a public setting. I thought about what I wanted to express, but wanted to do it later after walking around.
    Starting next to the building are what looks like typical park benches and then they spread out facing the crash site. What makes the benches anything but typical is each of them have two names of the passengers or crew on them. In front of those is an open area that slopes down and at the end of it are the little wooden angels with metal wings that have each of the names of the passengers and crew on them. These are what is always seen on TV specials. So you can sit on a bench, look at the angles and behind is it a field and around 1000 feet down at the end of it is just a simple flag marking the passengers final resting place. Some of the angels have pictures hanging from them like Tom Burnett's, others have beads, flags, necklaces, flowers and other personal items placed there. Near Lorraine Bay is a German flag and I wonder who put these things there. Are they all from the family or mourners as well? To the right of the angels is a great little poem titled "Angels of Freedom". Next to that is a full size flag pole with the American flag, in between is a black rock listing all the names of the passengers and crew, close to that is a similar pole with the Pennsylvania state flag, then a large stone with a quote from the president, close to that is a wooden cross that isn't as high as the poles. It has a white cloth wrapped around it. On the left of the angels are stones including one from South Africa. All of these stones are donated and presented by individuals.
    Behind the benches is the memorial wall. Only it's not a wall, it's not made of stone and carved with the names of the people who died, but it's 40 foot long fence that's 10 feet high. It is a living memorial that changes by the hour. People come up to it and leave personal items as a tribute. On top of the fence is a row of small flags and five large flags on each section. The large flags are very impressive - one is an American flag with the names of everyone who died on 9/11, the Flight 93 American flag, a Pentagon flag, a WTC/Pentagon flag and the Pennsylvania flag. Because it is an open area there was wind the whole time and the flags fly proudly. If you go around the fence even the back is covered including the support beams. Every inch is covered and eventually items are taken down and stored for later making room for more.
    Some items are deeply personal like police and firefighter helmets, police patches from across the country, a Shanksville fire department coat, articles, notes, cards, signs, flowers, hats, Frisbees, many license plates - nearly everything imaginable. Some items are almost unbearable like the sign that simply reads, "I wish I could trade places with them." Some items have no meaning at all except to those who placed them there. It's surreal. It's like a puzzle seeing so many toys and kids things since there were no children on the plane. Maybe children leave things they for the victims to share something of themselves.
To the right of the fence are some of the biggest stones including a couple from bikers and a huge "Let's Roll" stone that's from Guatemala. On the other side of the fence are signs from children.
    That's what it's like - a place to honor those who sacrificed everything as well as a place to leave something behind if you wish. It's like no other place on earth, no other memorial is like it. It's a place for everyone. It's emotional, moving, touching, personal, sad, hopeful and happy at times like the beauty of the flags. The stones are impressive and when you see some have been donated from around the world it's really amazing and unexpected.
    Whatever you know or think about bikers changes here. I don't like the obnoxiously loud bikes polluting the air with noise when I'm trying to just relax at home. But here it doesn't matter. There were groups and groups of bikers paying tribute with as many as 100 or so in a group. There could've been as many as 1000 there at once. These are patriotic people standing for the country and honoring the dead. A group of them came with large flags and had an impromptu ceremony and like the memorial itself, it just fits and is how the place grows. One of the men just got back from Iraq and pinned his medal to the fence. It was a great moment and everyone around applauded.
It's a weird thing to go to a memorial when you don't know any of the fallen, but 9/11 affected the whole country and the people of Flight 93 have become legends. They are the first Americans to win a battle in the war on terror and the crash site is a battlefield like Gettysburg, people fought and died here. I feel a connection to them and had to come to honor them. I went back and signed the book thanking them for reminding us not to take anything for granted.
    There are people who won't even watch a film on 9/11 so going to the crash site is completely foreign to them. This is why you need to go. You can watch every movie or read every book on a historical subject no matter what it is - the Civil War, World War II, etc. But until you see, smell and touch the place where it actually happened, you'll never get the full picture. I've seen all the Flight 93 films and specials so that I've gotten to "know" the families and the heroes and going to the memorial is the final step in the journey. It completes it. I've seen it on TV, but that's limited, it's just close ups and no context. There is no pulling back and seeing it from a distance. There's the final hill the plane came over where if you were there the sight and sounds of a huge plane barreling upside down would've been overwhelming. The smell of the field, the sound of the crickets, the openness of it all. There is really nothing out there. In essence it's the perfect spot for it to all end, though I wish it didn't. I wish they killed the hijackers and landed the plane, but by it crashing out here there were no other lives lost. No houses were crushed or burned by fires. If it went down a minute sooner in Somerset 100s more could've been killed, the same as if it crashed into Washington.
    I saw a handful of veterans out there and made sure I thanked them and shook their hands. One man's hat listed his years of service in Vietnam with 'Enough Said.' The other was from WWII who got teary when I talked to him. Unbelievably he was not only in WWII and Korea, but also Vietnam. At 80 years old he said he was the oldest living vet from that war. He was only 16 and lied to get into the army during WWII and was one of the first to come ashore after the nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan and he described the devastation and how railroad tracks were 50 feet in the air in the trees. When asked what would have happened if people protested the war like they do today he said they would've been killed. He said the first one to do it would've been his father if he ever talked like that. 
    I don't like calling it the temporary memorial because right now it is THE memorial and one day when the one they call the permanent memorial is complete, I would hate for the original one to be moved, taken down or dismantled in any way. The new memorial will be a massive stone structure in a curve with a walkway that will look out on the crash site flanked by trees. It will be built on the hill above the memorial that is there now. That's fine, but I like what's there. I hope when the time comes they'll keep them both. It would be hard to say goodbye especially after people have gotten used to it for 10 years.


    What a difference a day makes. Yesterday the weather was perfect. Today it is overcast, very cold and on the verge of raining. Driving in we were behind a group of police who stopped their cars to direct traffic toward the memorial and close off the rest of the road. Now there is a huge line of cars going in and bumper to bumper traffic as rangers and cops park people in the fields. The bikers are gone. Where they filled up a lot before, now it is filled up by news truck with huge satellite dishes. At the memorial, things have changed. The three large flags are at half-mast and the angels now are surrounded by flags. Volunteers are also placing flags around the large memorial stones. From here you can catch a shuttle down to the tent or walk the long road if you are feeling brave.
    If yesterday was the day of the bikers, today was the day of the flight attendants. There were a couple of huge tour buses filled with them. It was easy to tell since they were all in uniform and I saw a lot of emotion on their faces and wondered how much schedule wrangling at the airlines were necessary to get them all here at once. The bus drops you near the two large bells they rang during the ceremony which are on their own black trailer. At one point members of the army stood near it to guard, honor and pose for pictures.
    Upon arrival at the tent and aren't allowed inside. Those who are have to pass through metal detectors. This setup caused problems. Inside the tent on the left are the families, on the right are the guests - the politicians, etc. and the military and the press are in the middle. For regular people you are stuck outside. Not only is it open and cold there are no chairs provided, just a rocky ground. It is also very hard to see what's going on inside. At the least they could've put rows of folding chairs and a second tent up. They also could've used a TV screen outside to show what was going on inside so everyone could see what was going on like they do at concerts. It's like they were pretending no one was out there.
    Right as the ceremony was about to start it started raining. Umbrellas, hoods and blankets came out. It looked bleak and like we were heading for a miserable hour. A minute later it stopped and never started again. What a relief.
    I have nothing to compare it to and I didn't know what to expect. I don't know how different it is from year to year. Inside is a large display showing with the completed memorial will look like. Newsmen scrambled about and military got into position. By standing up and using the zoom on my camcorder I was able to see the speakers on my screen, otherwise you couldn't see anything.
    Park Superintendent Joanne M. Hanley started by reading from Lisa Jefferson's book. She was the one who spoke to Todd Beamer on the phone until the plane crashed. I wondered if she was there and it would've been great for her to read her own book.
    Local pastor Rev Robert J. Way gave the invocation about bringing people closer together. The members of the armed forces presented their colors and 'America the Beautiful' was sang. This was the first touching moment as people sang along for the first verse. No one really knows the second one.
    The first speaker was Hamilton Peterson the president of the Flight 93 families whose father and stepmother were killed on the plane. Instead of crying or being emotional he was passionate and proud. This was to be the trend with all the speakers. He actually thanked the passengers for crashing the plane right there so that more lives were saved. It was inspiring to hear someone who lost so much was not bitter, did not come there to cry or wallow in grief or anything like that, but was genuinely proud. He got the point of it all without question. He explained how the memorial was coming together to remain forever. He went into the meaning of the term "let's roll" and how it was distinctly American and defined the American spirit. It comes from "let us roll" and how it means a getting together. He then went into all the people who "rolled" to get the memorial site and funding appropriated. One thing I didn't know and was happy to hear was thanks to Universal with the money donated from United 93 the families were able to make a large purchase and secure the land with the crash site. So those of us who saw the film that first weekend had a hand in that, it's a great feeling. One family member also raised 1 million on his own, very impressive.
    Then General Tommy Franks spoke. I was expecting something powerful from him, but spoke in clichés and sounded very sedated.
    When Governor Rendell spoke I was glad he didn't make a political speech. Instead he made two announcements pertaining to the memorial. On 8/16 the game commission made the 300 surrounding acres a national preserve that will forever remain undeveloped. The other was that he was presenting a commitment letter that they commission could draw on $10 million immediately for the memorial.
    Congressman Bill Shuster has some very kind words in saying he was honoring Flight 93 because of their actions he might not be there today since the plane was heading for the capitol where he was on 9/11. This is great for him to say even though the Capitol was evacuated at the time the plane was coming. He also is sponsoring a bill in congress to award the passengers the congressional gold medal. He said it is an area of hope and compared it to Gettysburg, Lexington and Normandy beach.
    Rev. Paul M. Britton, brother of passenger Marion Britton talked about how it was sacred ground and to have a moment of silence.
    Then Los Angeles firefighter of the year Captain Stephen J. Ruda, the man who coined the phrase " A common field…" read the names of the passengers and crew. In the most touching part of the ceremony he read a name and the two bells of remembrance rang for each. One high, one low again and again at the time the plane went down. They were rung by Trooper James Broderick who was the first on the scene on 9/11 and Douglas Custer. This took almost 8 minutes and I could only imagine how long it was taking at the same time at Ground Zero when the list of names was 70 times longer.
    After that was a touching instrumental musical piece written by Derrill Bodley whose daughter was on the plane. He has since passed away so it was introduced by his wife. It only features piano and guitar and had the feeling of the closing to a touching movie.
    Then one of the countries' greatest senators Rick Santorum spoke. He talked about all the battlefields in PA from wars going back 100s of years, but how this one was unusual and harder to explain. He spoke of a man who was at the battle of Gettysburg, Joshua Lawrence who spoke on the 20th anniversary of that battle. They won the battle, but not the war that day. He spoke passionately reading what he said that day ending with the power of that vision would pass into their souls.
    Then one of our worst senators, Arlen Specter spoke. He also thanked the crew for saving the capitol on 9/11 where he was. He also mentioned what Lincoln said on Gettysburg, they won't remember what we say here, but what was done here. He said his job was to make sure it never, never, never happens again which got applause. He also said it didn't matter if the 20th hijacker was on the plane, they still would've brought it down which also got applause. Well, the guy can give a speech.
    Joanne then read a letter from Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne who couldn't make it today. His pledge was Flight 93 would not be forgotten. The area will be listed amongst the icons of the country forever.
    The final speaker was the hometown favorite, Tom Ridge, the former governor and the former head of homeland security. He said patriotism was not an ideal, but a way of life. 9/11 was a date when they gave all, when people were taken too soon. Lives were lost, lives were saved and heroes were made. Their courage mattered, they are deeply missed and we will never forget them and the area they protected, the greatest country on earth.
    The military returned for the retiring of the colors and God Bless America was played, but not sung, so it wasn't as powerful as before.
Rev. Britton returned for the closing prayer. He said the passengers found courage to achieve greatness they acted greatly and that is their gift to us today. We too should do all things greatly and never consider ourselves too small. This place should be an inspiration for the world of lives lived greatly.
    Joanne closed out by wanting us to remember those who live with 9/11 every day - families, first responders and the citizens around who volunteer at the site and thanks to everyone who made it possible and to keep the congressmen in your prayers. The last thing she read was again from Lisa Jefferson's book. It was a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
The other main, moving highlight was missed by most of the crowd who had already left, though it wasn't exactly their fault. The North Star Kids and Spring Valley Bruderhof Children's Choir were to end the ceremony. Since we were outside and couldn't really see much it seemed like it was over. I could see the kids getting into position and it took a few minutes. I don't know how many kids were there but it sounded like dozens. They sang beautifully and were perfect to close the ceremony. They did 'I am but a Small Voice' then stopped and at first it seemed it was over and they did 'Let there be Peace on Earth.' From where I was I could only really see one pretty little girl who was smiling and singing her heart out. It was very touching and I feel bad for anyone who missed it by leaving early.
    After it was over we got on the shuttle and warmed up on the way back to the car. I wanted to see the memorial one more time and take a few more pictures before I left. It was a totally different experience. Yesterday was the people's day, but today was the families day. I tried to find the soldier's medal on the fence, but couldn't. I wanted some pictures of the changes from one day to the next and when I came across family members and flight attendants mourning by the angels it was tough to watch. I can't imagine how hard it is for those who lost friends and family. There were also news crews swarming around them to get shots. It was like we who were watching were invisible to them in their grief. It makes you feel sad and small like you are intruding on their pain.
    Like yesterday there was an impromptu ceremony. This one was done by the army. General Snyder presented a wreath with four troops standing with him. Three had rifles and one held a flag. He also laid his commanders coin on one of the stones. It was very moving.
The president was due to arrive in a few minutes, but since he wasn't going to speak and only meet with the families, there was no way to get close to see him or anything else.
    I have heard people say why would you go there? The question is why wouldn't you? Running away from something or trying to forget about it doesn't mean it didn't happen, it doesn't make it go away. The sooner you deal with something, the sooner you can find peace with it. The most surprising thing to me was how many people were there both days. This isn't something people have forgotten and don't want to deal with. Sure, it's an emotional rollercoaster, so are a lot of movies that people who wouldn't go to the memorial line up in the millions every week to see.
    It's sad that so many families had their loved ones ripped from them so fast, so unexpectedly, but the memorial remains a place of hope. Real people, regular, normal, every day working Americans can become great, they can become heroes. It's in inspiring, provides perspective and when you leave it's like a cleansing of all the nonsense that doesn't matter and isn't worthy of your emotions or attention. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time and am glad I did it.
    When you look at the pictures of the passengers it's such a perfect cross section of America representing everyone. They were white, black, Asian, male, female, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, old, young, big, small, strong, fragile, a pilot, police, etc. They could've been anyone even you or I. They acted like Americans should, they put their differences aside, acted as a team and did something. They made a difference. They didn't whine about and as one brave women left a message on her husband's phone sums it all up, "we're having a little problem on the plane, don't worry." No one should be held up higher than the others. I think Todd Beamer gets too much credit, like he's the quarterback of the team. Yes he said, "let's roll" and I'm sure he acted heroically. If I was to pick one person who got the most insight out it would be Tom Burnett who made 4 phone calls and collected information. The point is though no one person could've beaten the four hijackers on their own. It needed a team effort to succeed and they knew it. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, so naturally they became heroes.

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