the republic logo

$26 million visitors center complex at Flight 93 National Memorial will publicly open Sept. 10

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

SHANKSVILLE, Pennsylvania — A $26 million visitors center complex at the Flight 93 National Memorial will be dedicated and open to the public Sept. 10, a day before the 14th anniversary of the terror attacks.

The new center near Shanksville, about 75 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, consists of two buildings, a 4,700-square-foot learning center that will play host to activities, guest speakers and events and a separate visitors center with exhibit space and more serene, sober reminders of the crash site.

"The interior of that space will be very reverent," Keith Newlin, the deputy superintendent of the memorial said during a media-only tour Thursday.

United Airlines Flight 93, which was traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, went down Sept. 11, 2001, in a reclaimed strip mine after passengers fought back against its hijackers. All 33 passengers and seven crew members were killed along with the hijackers.

The plane was the only one of four hijacked that day that didn't hit its intended target, and the passenger revolt spawned the memorial's slogan, "A common field one day ... a field of honor forever."

The visitors center will include five two-sided walls with 10 exhibits that will tell the story of the day. The theme of one will be "an ordinary day, which everybody probably remembers," Newlin said. Other exhibits will include interactive displays, video and photographs — some donated by the families of the 40 victims aboard the plane, Newlin said — as well as remnants of a makeshift memorial where visitors placed flowers, mementos and other tributes at a chain-link fence that first marked the crash site.

Newlin said the design of the visitors complex will accentuate the crash site's transformation. The concrete exterior walls are molded to mimic the grain of the hemlock wood barns that dot the surrounding farmland, and many other features of the building are black. "That represents the coal heritage, the coal seam in this area," Newlin said.

The walls of the visitors center are bisected by a black granite walkway tracing the plane's path. When completed, it will lead to an overlook featuring a backlit glass panel engraved with the "common field" slogan through which visitors can view the crash site.

Visitors hoping for a closer look can follow paths to the memorial wall at the crash site, engraved with the victims' names.

Tickets will be issued for at least the first couple of months the visitors center is open to manage crowds. The tickets will be free, though a small fee of $1 or $1.50 might be charged to reserve tickets online instead of getting them at the site.

Officials hope the new visitors center will boost annual visitors from about 300,000 to 500,000 but more importantly spread the story of the heroes who died there, Newlin said.

"They were together for 35 minutes and decided what to do," Newlin said. "From that we can learn a lot."

PHOTO: Reporters walk past the visitors center building at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Shanksville, Pa. during a press tour of the ongoing construction, Thursday, June 25, 2015. The $26 million visitor center complex is scheduled to be dedicated and open to the public Sept. 10, 2015, a day before the 14th anniversary of the terror attacks during which passengers caused the hijacked airliner to crash there. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Reporters walk past the visitors center building at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Shanksville, Pa. during a press tour of the ongoing construction, Thursday, June 25, 2015. The $26 million visitor center complex is scheduled to be dedicated and open to the public Sept. 10, 2015, a day before the 14th anniversary of the terror attacks during which passengers caused the hijacked airliner to crash there. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Reporters walk past the visitors center building at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Shanksville, Pa. during a press tour of the ongoing construction, Thursday, June 25, 2015. The $26 million visitor center complex is scheduled to be dedicated and open to the public Sept. 10, 2015, a day before the 14th anniversary of the terror attacks during which passengers caused the hijacked airliner to crash there. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Click to view (5 Photos)
We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2015 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.