When we go east, we always travel a little more than halfway and spend the night in New Stanton, Pennsylvania. When we woke up in the morning, we were greeted with a few inches of fresh snow! Brrrr!
On our way through the rest of Pennsylvania, we decided to take a detour and go see the Flight 93 Memorial in Schwenksville. Snow wasn’t a problem on the turnpike, and we figured we had just enough time in our schedule before we said we would be in Maryland.
It wasn’t long after we exited the turnpike that we began to climb in elevation. And of course, as you climb, the weather gets colder, and it began to snow in earnest. My husband said it was no problem. But I began to doubt if we should ever have left the turnpike!
It was a beautiful albeit cold and blustery spot!
By the time we got to the Park, the roads were icy and treacherous. In fact, the park guards closed the front gates shortly after we passed through them because of the dangerous conditions. They would eventually have to try multiple routes to get us out!
We were glad we went, though. Our visit was a sobering reminder of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. It was also a reminder that, when put to the test, everyday Americans rise to the occasion.
If not for the brave men and women aboard Flight 93, countless more lives could have been lost on the ground—probably in our nation’s capitol.
This is the memorial wall.
Each panel of the wall is inscribed with the name of a person who died on Flight 93. The architects placed the wall directly beneath the flight path of the jet liner before it crashed. Only family members are allowed to pass through the wooden gate at the far end of the wall. From there, they are allowed to walk down the path to the huge rock marking the actual crash site, which was carved into the grove of massive hemlocks.
The gentleman with the cane was a local man who was giving a tour to his daughter and her family. We were invited to listen in and ask questions as he told stories and details I hadn’t heard before.
For instance: There was a recycling yard over the hill directly behind the spot from which I took the first picture of the wall above. He said there were several men working outside that day when the jet came screaming over their heads. It was traveling approximately 500 miles per hour, between 40 and 100 feet off the ground,and it was upside down. An enormous explosion followed immediately and they ran towards the wreck. But there was nothing to do. The heat was far too intense to get anywhere near the site.
He told us the plane didn’t drive deep into the ground as we had imagined. It only pushed into the ground about 15 feet. However the force of the surface explosion drove debris as deep as 40 feet.
The concussion was so great, that it cracked several windows and blew the storm door off this farmhouse …located a mile away from the crash site! We passed by the farm house on our way out of the park and couldn’t believe how powerful the explosion must have been that day.
I’m glad we had a chance to visit. And I’m incredibly thankful to the everyday men and woman who were simply going about their normal business, and in the end stood up to an evil none of us could have imagined. Their courage remains an inspiration to each one of us.
May God bless the loved ones they each left behind. May each one of them feel the bond of love and gratitude our hearts will always share.