SHANKSVILLE, Pa. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Senator Bob Casey and the families of the Flight 93 heroes to break ground on the Flight 93 National Memorial. Senator Arlen Specter and Congressmen John Murtha and Bill Shuster had representatives there on their behalf.
“On behalf of a grateful nation, we say to the men and women of Flight 93 who gave their lives on September 11, 2001 to prevent terrorists from attacking our nation's capital ‘We will never forget you,'” Salazar said. “This national memorial will always stand to honor you and to remind future generations that you fought and were victorious over the forces of evil.”
Salazar pledged to work with the families and local community to complete the national memorial for a dedication ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in 2011.
“Earlier this year, many of us gathered together and committed to completing this first phase of the memorial in time for the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks,” said Governor Rendell. “It's been a long road to this point, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of those gathered here today, as well as countless others, we are now on the path to meeting that deadline. This memorial will be a lasting tribute to the 40 heroes of United Flight 93 who courageously gave their lives to stop the terrorists from using their plane as another weapon on 9/11.”
“Nothing can repay the courage of the 40 passengers and crew members of United Flight 93, who stood up to terror on September 11, 2001. Their sacrifice averted a larger loss of life and, in all probability, saved the U.S. Capitol or the White House, symbols of American governance. Today's groundbreaking ceremony marks an important milestone in erecting a memorial to honor the men and women who gave their lives. I thank Secretary Salazar, the Families of the Flight 93 and the landowners for their collaborative efforts to make this day a reality,” said Senator Specter
“It has been a long journey to get to this day when we can finally pay tribute to the bravery shown by the passengers and crew of Flight 93,” said Senator Casey. “May this memorial stand as a testament of our gratitude to these men and women as we remember their sacrifice, honor their valor and commemorate their lives. I wish to thank the Families of Flight 93 for their dedication to this endeavor.”
“In early 2002, I introduced legislation establishing a national memorial to honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93,” said Congressman John P. Murtha. “Nearly eight years later, I'm honored that we are breaking ground on a memorial that is both fitting of their sacrifice and contribution to our great nation.” Murtha commended those involved with the planning an construction of the memorial, and added, “Because of your work, future generations will look out across this quiet Pennsylvania field and forever be reminded of the story of Flight 93 and the courage and sacrifice of her passengers and crew.”
A total of 40 people, representing the 40 Flight 93 heroes, took part in the ceremony, including four young relatives who turned the first shovels of dirt, symbolically signifying the start of a new planning and construction phase for the national memorial.
Salazar also recognized the community of Shanksville, who have welcomed countless visitors to the site. Every day of the year, volunteers from the community have stood guard at the temporary memorial that was constructed to honor the Flight 93 heroes.
Terrorists hijacked Flight 93 on 9/11 with intentions to attack either the White House or Capitol. The passengers and crew fought back, and the terrorists responded by flying the plane into the fields near Shanksville.
“May this hallowed ground inspire us to work ever harder towards the day when terrorism is defeated and all men, women and children in all countries can live without fear of senseless violence,” Salazar said.