As we pause tomorrow, Sept. 11, to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the wind will blow through a new tower in a field near Shanksville, PA and 40 chimes will quietly sound commemorating the 40 lives lost when Flight 93 crashed on that fateful day.
Called the “Tower of Voices” and located at the already-existing Flight 93 Memorial, the U.S National Park Service says the “intent is to create a set of 40 tones that can signify through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site.”
In other words, the beautiful tones of 40 different wind chimes will help us remember those 40 passengers and crew who so bravely gave their lives to prevent the hijacked plane from crashing into the U.S. Capitol building.
I know of no American alive on that day who will ever forget the horrible sight of the twin towers in New York being rammed by passenger jets, slowly crashing to the ground and killing nearly 3,000 people and injuring another 6,000. We have lived with the consequences ever since.
We also should never forget the heroism of those aboard United Flight 93, a domestic scheduled passenger flight from Newark International Airport in New Jersey to San Francisco International Airport, which was hijacked by four Al-Qaeda terrorists .
When the hijackers stormed the aircraft's cockpit some 46 minutes after takeoff, the pilot and first officer de-activated the autopilot, trying to hinder the hijackers. However, Ziad Jarrah, who had trained as a pilot, took control and diverted the aircraft back toward the east coast, in the direction of Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Capitol building.
Several passengers and flight attendants learned from phone calls that suicide attacks already had been made by hijacked airliners on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon near Washington. As they tried to wrest control of the aircraft from the hijackers, the plane crashed into a field about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh and 130 miles northwest of Washington. All on board, including the four hijackers, were killed.
Of the four planes hijacked on September 11 – the others were American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 77 – United Airlines Flight 93 was the only one that did not reach the hijackers' intended target.
Construction of a permanent Flight 93 National Memorial was dedicated on September 10, 2011,and the concrete and glass visitor center situated on a hill overlooking the site, was opened exactly four years later.
Now, the wind will forever remind us of those 40 lost heroes who no doubt saved so many more lives.
Let us never forget.
My nephew, Brandon A. Peters, remembers: