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September 11, 2015

9/11 memorial honors lives lost aboard Flight 93


In a remote field in western Pennsylvania, mourners gathered Thursday to commemorate the lives lost on United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.

Officials and family members of those who died when the plane crashed into the field dedicated the Flight 93 National Memorial on the fourteenth anniversary of the tragedy that claimed the lives of 40 passengers and crew on the flight.

The flight was one of four hijacked planes rerouted by al-Qaida terrorists that day. Two other flights crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City while another hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. More than 2,000 people died in total.

Officials believe Flight 93’s intended target may have been the U.S. Capitol Building, but passengers and crew on board forced their way into the cockpit, preventing the plane from reaching its goal.

“They chose to act. They fought back,” said Gordon Felt, whose brother was on the flight. “In doing so, they lost their lives, but, in the process, they saved countless other lives.”

The new memorial features a visitor center that documents the lives of each passenger who died at the site. Family members donated photos and even answering machine recordings left by loved ones able to call to say goodbye before the end. A path reserved for families outside leads to the impact site.

“Like freedom, this memorial design is open-ended, requiring each visitor to help sustain its legacy through commemoration, commitment and engagement,” said site architect Paul Murdoch.

Warm up questions
  1. What happened on September 11, 2001?
  2. Have you heard anyone talk about the 9/11 terrorist attacks outside of school? If so, what was said?
  3. What is the purpose of a memorial?
Critical thinking questions
  1. What did the 9/11 attacks change about life in the U.S.?
  2. What can we do to honor the memory of those who died?
  3. Why is it important to learn about what happened on 9/11?
  4. What do you think are the most important parts of the 9/11 story?
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