Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The plantings of cherry trees originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan. In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an exalted flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a potent symbol equated with the evanescence of human life and epitomizes the transformation of Japanese culture throughout the ages.
SHANKSVILLE, Pa. -- Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today joined Flight 93 Memorial Superintendent Jeff Reinbold, Flight 93 Families President Gordon Felt, Dr. Brent Glass, Flight 93 Advisory Board Commissioner and National Park Service employees, volunteers and families in honoring the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93 and all those who lost their lives on September 11th.
The observance of Flight 93 and September 11th took place at the Flight 93 National Memorial. The memorial in Shanksville includes a memorial plaza and wall of names, a ring road that encircles the Field of Honor, and a visitor contact station.
Yesterday, Secretary Jewell helped break ground on the next phase of the memorial, which will include a visitor and education center, 40 memorial groves each with 40 trees, and a walkway that follows the ring road down to the Field of Honor and the crash site. The new visitor center is expected to be completed in September 2015.
The National Park Foundation raised more than $40 million dollars to begin construction on the visitor center. The Friends of Flight 93 will continue to fundraise toward additional operational and programmatic needs.
Below please find Secretary Jewell's remarks as prepared for delivery:
Each of us here today remembers September 11, 2001.
We remember where we were, the horror we felt as we watched the images on television, and the terrible aftermath of pain and sorrow.
For the families of the 40 and thousands of other families impacted that day, you have known the terrible pain of loss.
A well-known verse reminds us “greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for his friends.” We never know when we might be called upon to lay down our lives for others. Certainly the heroes of Flight 93 had no idea that they would be heroes or that they would lay down their lives for their nation that day.
But their actions likely saved the lives of untold people in Washington and protected the very symbol of liberty and democracy that fuels the hatred of terrorists: the U.S. Capitol.
This Memorial we are surrounded by today protects and honors the remains of these heroes and ensures that generations from now, the story of Flight 93 will still remind and inspire those who come after us.
It is a testament to the 40 that 300,000 people a year visit this place of honor and more than 100,000 people have donated to build the Memorial.
Thank you to the Families of Flight 93, the Flight 93 Advisory Commission, the Flight 93 Memorial Task Force, Friends of Flight 93 and the National Park Foundation for your tireless work to create a memorial to honor these heroes.
While the formal partnership that created this Memorial has concluded its work, the spirit of that partnership will continue. The partners have given the nation a wonderful gift – not only a fitting tribute to the passengers and crew of Flight 93, but an opportunity to participate in the making of the Memorial.
I want to thank the local community and volunteers who have welcomed us as a new neighbor, and who are working with us to ensure people know of this place and of the important events that happened in the skies above us.
The National Park Service has the sacred responsibility of managing this site on behalf of the families, our partners and all the American people. We are in the forever business and we will protect this hallowed ground, the final resting place of your loved ones, and make sure future generations know this important story.