In the midst of the remembrances and reflections on the tenth anniversary of 9-11, I will remember and honor the brave people of Flight 93. That flight, aimed for our nation’s capital, was crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
That place, and those Americans onboard, are our time’s Alamo. Remember Flight 93. They fought for us. They died for us. They knew what they were doing. They knew what they were facing. They knew what they were sacrificing. That place in Shanksville is hallowed ground. It is not the site of a tragedy, but of a triumph.
I had the opportunity to visit the site in the fall of 2010, before any memorials were built, or visitors’ centers or interpretive centers. I’m glad we went when we did. There was nothing really there but an empty field and the tributes and tokens left by those who visited. Those who came–hundreds of thousands of people every year–came only to pay their respects. That says more than any monument can. It’s right and appropriate that a permanent memorial is built there, but I’m still glad I got to see and visit the site before.
Flight 93 also shows up what those on the other flights most certainly would have done, had they known the true situation.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
National Anthem, Verse 3