Went to see the ceremony at the Flight 93 crash site. I am sure some of you guys probably watched some of the coverage on TV.
This was the scene after going through security Walking down to the display area.
Here is a picture so you can get a feel for the crowd. I bet there were 300 or so people there. Attendance gets less and less every year, which is kind of disturbing. The first opportunity our country has to thwart the third plane attack…. and the people bravely stop them…. and it seems we are forgetting.
McCain did say a few words at the ceremony and this did generate some news media and crowds. The consensus of the local people was…. We are glad to have a presidential candidate come to the ceremony… lest these heroes be forgotten. Like I said, attendance at the ceremony in Shanksville is getting smaller every year.
They started reading the names of the pilots and stewardess that were killed. There was a pause, and then they began reading the names of the passengers at about the time that the plane went down. The one woman was the mother of one of the Japanese passengers. It was about all she could do to say the name of her son when it was her turn for his name to be said. They ring the two bells in turn after each name. It sure takes a while. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, for the bell tolls for thee.
I would guess that the crowd was 50% locals and 50% media and out-of-towners. When McCain went to get into his motorcade and shake just a few hands on the way there...most of the out-of-town people flocked to the area like a moth to a flame. He handled himself well, very solemn and appropriate comments. Several other Senators, our governor, and other politicians were there and spoke.
Other than this guy and his wife talking about NOTHING that couldn't wait while everyone was trying to hear the speakers.... everyone knew what the day was about and everyone was respectful. There were no hecklers or protestors of any kind. That was refreshing.
I believe one of the Pennsylvania National Guard divisions recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan. They were present representing their unit.
There was a "Fist Amendment" area for people who wanted to demonstrate. As you can see, everyone had sense enough to refrain from such an activity. There were a lot of bumper stickers, but only one vehicle was close to the area where you walked from your car.
The owner of the vehicle was from one of the units I mentioned above that just came off of deployment. I did see plenty of bumper stickers, but this one guy was over the top. It is clear where he stands on the election.
During McCain's exit I could hear several Obama supporters murmuring to each other in angst. You really couldn't hear what they were saying over the cheering, but they were not happy.
In case you guys ever make your way up to this area sometime, there is a temporary memorial set in the field about 300 yards from the crash site. The area includes a memory board where people leave mementos and reminders and can sign their names on the white board. Apparently these boards are kept in some warehouse somewhere. Since it is now an official park there is usually a ranger stationed there. At the top of each hour during peak visit times he gives a presentation about the whole area and what happened. There are plenty of pictures taken by local cameras on the infamous day of September 11, 2001 and other information there. They even have a complete transcript of the cockpit voice recordings of that day. They are very disturbing to read.
There is a plan in the works to make a formal monument out of the area. The last time I heard they were planning to spend $6 million for this purpose.