Radio PA Roundtable – September 9-11, 2016

On this week’s Radio PA Roundtable, a special edition marking the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America with interviews from the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.

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Book Documents Flight 93 Temporary Memorial

As many look forward to the dedication of Phase I of the Flight 93 National Memorial, a new book looks back at the temporary memorial that once marked the crash site in Somerset County.  Gripped by the site from the first time he laid eyes on it in 2005, Pittsburgh photographer and author Richard Snodgrass returned 50-times to capture moments in time, in all seasons and conditions.  The best 92-images and accompanying prose can be found in the book, “An Uncommon Field.”

The setting was stark and beautiful, with a 40-foot fence just appearing out of nowhere.  “People would be at the site, and then they just had to leave something,” Snodgrass says.  “It took a while to get to this place, it’s not that accessible.  But they would be the things that they had with them in the car.  They would leave them and write “thank you” on it, to the heroes.”   

The temporary memorial was taken down in 2009, but Snodgrass wasn’t sad to see it go.  “It was really time to move on.  I felt that, very much, it had run its course,” he explains.  Half of the proceeds from “An Uncommon Field” will be donated to the Flight 93 National Memorial Fund.  Snodgrass says the new, permanent memorial has the same spirit that always grabbed visitors at the old one.  “It’s a very special place and I really urge people to go to it.” 

“An Uncommon Field” is published by Carnegie Mellon University Press.  It’s available through a variety of booksellers. 

Two days of dedication and 10th anniversary commemoration ceremonies will be held at the Flight 93 National Memorial on September 10th and 11th

Field of Honor

The Flight 93 National Memorial will include a Field of Honor. (photo credit: Paul Murdoch Architects)

Flight 93 Memorial Fundraising Not Finished Yet

Phase I of the Flight 93 National Memorial will be dedicated during next month’s 10th anniversary commemoration, but another $10-million dollars is still needed to complete the project.  “I think we have to build this memorial here… so that we don’t forget… but also to create a context for teaching visitors about what happened here that day,” says King Laughlin, Vice President of the National Park Foundation for the Flight 93 National Memorial. 

$52-million dollars in public and private funds have already been raised toward the $62-million dollar project.  When Phase I is dedicated, visitors will get to see the black granite walkway that traces the path the plane took before it crashed, and a wall listing the names of the 40-passengers and crew who died on Flight 93.  “Really for the first time in ten years, visitors and the public will have the opportunity to come within a few feet of where the crash took place,” Laughlin says.  Phase II will include a visitors center and 40-groves of trees for the 40-heroes aboard the plane, among other features.  It is expected to open by 2014.

Laughlin says the public can contribute to the memorial online or by texting the world “MEMORIAL” to the number 90999.  By sending that text message, donors will be making an automatic $10-dollar contribution.  The National Park Foundation has launched a public service campaign, and will match all donations, up to $2-million dollars.  Large crowds and numerous dignitaries are expected during the two-day 10th anniversary commemoration in Somerset County.  

Flight 93 National Memorial

Phase I of the Flight 93 National Memorial will be dedicated during the 10th anniversary commemoration next month.

Corbett Remembers 9/11

The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is less than a month away.  “That day will stick with me, as it sticks with everybody, as to where you were and what you were doing,” says Governor Tom Corbett.  Ten years ago, Corbett was chairman of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency.  He was in Harrisburg to conduct the commission’s quarterly meeting on September 11th, 2001. 

Details of the tragic events were sketchy when the meeting began.  “We conducted the meeting in an hour, we moved through it very quickly.  But, what I remember is that I kept getting notes produced to me.  I was reading the notes, and I could not tell the members of the commission because they were about the buildings falling,” Corbett recalls. 

Corbett had flown into Harrisburg, but drove a rental car home to Pittsburgh because all commercial planes had been grounded.  It was an emotional Turnpike trip that day: “Knowing that off to my right somewhere was where the heroes had taken over the plane and crashed it into the ground.”    

Flight 93 National Memorial

Phase 1 of the Flight 93 National Memorial will be dedicated during the 10th anniversary commemoration next month.

The Flight 93 National Memorial is under construction, and phase 1 will be dedicated during next month’s 10th anniversary commemoration.  Governor Corbett recently had the chance to fly over the site, and says he looks forward to being there on September 11th

This Monday, Corbett will speak at the 37th annual National Organization for Victim Assistance conference, where special recognition will be given to the 9/11 victims and the advocates who’ve provided assistance.