A Story of Valor That Will Ring Through Time

September 11, 2017Rocío LowerNPF Blog
– National Park Service

A quiet field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania was forever changed on the morning of September 11, 2001. Amidst a calamitous series of events that took place that day in the U.S., ordinary citizens rose up to reclaim one highjacked plane that was likely bound for the United States Capitol Building. The 40 passengers and crew members were killed when the plane crashed into the field that fateful morning and the memory of their bravery and sacrifice lives on at what is now known as Flight 93 National Memorial.

In the years following the tragic events that shook the U.S., the nation has taken steps to honor those who were lost and ensure their stories are never forgotten.

Remembering Through the Years


Congress passes the Flight 93 National Memorial Act to create a new national park unit commemorating the men and women who courageously thwarted the attack on the capital. It also charters the Flight 93 National Memorial Federal Advisory Commission to oversee the park’s planning, design, and construction.

The Families of Flight 93 is established and partners with the National Park Service and the advisory commission to collaborate on the creation of the new park.

The memorial landscape design is approved for Flight 93 National Memorial.

The National Park Foundation joins the Flight 93 National Memorial partnership to execute a nationwide capital campaign for the new park.

The National Park Foundation supports the creation of the park’s official charitable partner, the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, to provide direct philanthropic support to the park’s initiatives.

The first groundbreaking ceremony is held, initiating the construction of a permanent memorial at the park.

The first phase of the memorial is completed. The park’s Memorial Plaza, Wall of Names, 40 Memorial Groves, and the Field of Honor are dedicated and opened to the public.

The National Park Foundation announces its successful completion of the Flight 93 National Memorial Capital Campaign. Through the support of over 110,000 contributors – comprised of individuals, corporations, and foundations, with at least one from every state in the country – over $40 million is raised to fund the primary construction of the memorial.

The National Park Service breaks ground on the new visitor center complex.

The second phase of the memorial is completed. The park’s visitor center opens, unveiling exhibits that use photos, audio and visual components, as well as tactile models and artifacts to illustrate the magnitude of the events that took place that day.

The Allée trees encircling the impact site are dedicated.

A soundbreaking ceremony is held for the final phase of the original design of the memorial and construction begins on the 93-foot-tall Tower of Voices. The tower, which will contain 40 wind chimes (each with a unique tone to symbolize the voices of each lost on Flight 93), is funded by a $6 million grant from the National Park Foundation. 

Ongoing Ways to Remember

Reforestation efforts at the park continue through annual planting events – the ultimate goal being to plant 150,000 new trees. An annual washing of the wall also occurs in the Spring.

On September 10, forty lanterns are placed below the names of each passenger and crew member during a luminaria event.

To observe the anniversary of September 11, an open-air service is held during which the names of each of the 40 passengers and crew members is read aloud and the Bells of Remembrance ring to honor their memory.

Group wearing neon green shirts walking down a path of a row of planted trees.
Linda Seanor, Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial

An annual walk is held to raise awareness and funds for Flight 93 National Memorial.

Though annual nationwide tributes are held during the month of September, Flight 93 National Memorial endures as a place where visitors can pay tribute and remember year-round. The once quiet field, turned hallowed ground exemplifies the best of the human spirit – it commemorates an instance when 40 ordinary individuals joined together to change the course of history.

The national park now exists because that notion moved others to follow suit; it exists because private citizens felt compelled to honor the spirit of what they did and come together to support preserving this site so that future generations will never forget what happened here – so that their valor will ring through time.


Although I wholeheartedly support this monument to heroes who may have saved my life (I live in DC), and have visited this amazing well-done and beautiful NPS unit, I do question the $6M cost of this tower. I hope this also includes the cost of the landscaping and other site improvements because this seems like a high cost for this bell tower.
Hi JP--Thanks for your interest in and support of the Flight 93 National Memorial. The Tower of Voices is a totally unique design feature – no other architectural structure in the world compares to it. It is also uniquely complex, requiring extensive engineering and special materials to produce the desired musical output. The result should be spectacular - we really hope you’ll be able to see it once it’s completed in late 2018. Its costs, including landscaping, trails, lighting, and other elements are generously paid for by private donors to the National Park Foundation.
Comment in response to J.P. Szymkowicz - - - due to the bravery and quick-thinking of those on Flight 93, thousands of lives and property were saved. Can't put a price tag on that. Six million dollars is a pittance.
Wow! Those were brave people who saved others. I am proud to be an American and support this memorial. I stopped at the sight many years ago. I look forward to stopping again.
Is there an estimated time of completion for the Tower of Voices? Thanks!
Hi Lisa--The planned completion date is in September 2018. You can read more here: https://www.nationalparks.org/about/pressroom/press-releases/soundbreaking-flight-93-national-memorials-tower-voices-marks-final
This is an awesome way to remember those people who sacrifice d their own lives for what they believed in for the greater good of a Nation. I'm saddened by the families who lost their loved ones. But it's an awesome gesture and fitting that this memorial stands for what those people believed what they did for the greater good of America.
I was just at the memorial on Monday the 18th, it is a very moving experience, I look forward to visiting again when the tower is completed
My sister and I visited the site just before the tenth anniversary and then my husband and I visited in 2016. I was overwhelmed at how much had been built within five years and we were both quite emotional yet inspired by this sensitive yet powerful memorial. A must-see for all who care about our country and a reminder of selfless sacrifice.
I think that this memorial, like the ones in New York City and Washington D.C. will be a moving and appropriate remembrance to those who knowingly sacrificed their lives so that others would live. I will look forward to revisiting this site.
Great idea - beautiful Monument - I know it's in Pennsylvania but where? No address, no "how to get there", etc.
The memorial sounds fantastic. Please consider in the future that you include "where" the subject of your article is located. Lit 101, Who, what where, why.
Just visited the Memorial to the 40 remarkable heroes of Flight-93. No words can describe the feeling. Listening to the recordings left on home answering machines by a few of the hero passengers is inspiring. Visit the first chance you get.
H. Richard

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