Thursday, September 01, 2011

Memorial to Flight 93 is incomplete and short of money, maybe because it's the only rural 9/11 site

"Of the three memorials that commemorate the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, the Flight 93 National Memorial stands out," Curtis Tate writes for McClatchy Newspapers. "It's the only rural site, a world away from the urban bustle that surrounds Ground Zero and the Pentagon. It's the only one Congress has designated as a national park. And it's the only one of the three that isn't yet fully funded." (Flight 93 National Memorial Foundation webcam photo)

The memorial near Shanksville, Pa., needs another $10 million to build "a visitors center and other signature features, including 40 tree groves, representing the passengers and crew who fought the terrorists and gave their lives," Tate reports, but $52 million has been spent, and it will be dedicated Sept. 10 and President Obama will speak at a memorial service there Sept. 11.

"Because of the Flight 93 memorial's rural location, 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, it has no natural source of corporate funding," Tate writes. "The only thing that united the 33 passengers and seven crew members was the flight manifest." King Laughlin, the memorial's main fund-raiser, "said his group reached out to every Fortune 500 company. Almost all of them turned him down, saying they lacked the money or the memorial didn't fit their guidelines for giving."
Calvin Wilson, whose brother-in-law, LeRoy Homer Jr., was Flight 93's co-pilot, told Tate, "Flight 93 has always been a footnote in 9/11, and that's unfortunate," though the 40 passengers probably saved thousands of lives. If the plane had hit the U.S. Capitol, its most likely target, "It would have been a tremendous blow to the American psyche," Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa, told Tate. His story package includes renderings of how the memorial is to look when completed. For larger versions, from the memorial foundation, click here.

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