New ‘Tower of Voices’ structure honors Flight 93 victims of September 11

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By Amy Hansen, Washington Week Associate Producer 

Intense weather over the weekend didn’t deter Pat Waugh.

The 75-year-old told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette she traveled more than seven hours from North Carolina to Western Pennsylvania in less-than-ideal conditions.

But it was worth it.

Her late daughter Sandy Waugh Bradshaw was one of 40 victims who died after terrorists hijacked United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. The hijackers reportedly intended to strike the U.S. Capitol with the plane, but passengers and crew fought back before that could happen. The plane eventually crashed into a field in the rural town of Shanksville.

Waugh told the Post-Gazette it was important for her to attend the unveiling of a new project honoring the victims at their final resting place.

“I feel close to my daughter when I come here,” she said. “I am drawn here. I feel the need to come here.”

Hundreds of people joined Waugh during the dedication of the project dubbed “Tower of Voices” Sunday. The 93-foot structure will eventually hold 40 wind chimes to pay tribute to each victim. Eight chimes are currently in place, and CBS News reported the tower is still a work in progress. According to the National Park Service, there is no other musical structure like this in the world.

The tower’s architect told CBS the structure is a “monumental piece.”

“It's meant to be heroic,” Paul Murdoch said. “But the sounds are not booming chimes. They're meant to be actually quite subtle and intimate, so that people can be there and have a very personal experience, whatever it is for them."

The tower is the latest piece of a national memorial already containing several components, including a learning center and a grove of trees honoring the victims. The new structure was funded by private donations, the NPS reported.

Nearly 3,000 people in total died during the terror attacks 17 years ago. And as ABC News reported, the effects of the attacks are still being felt. Thousands of first responders have gotten sick or died after contributing to the recovery efforts.