Thousands of people, including President Bush, are expected to visit a field in the eastern state of Pennsylvania wednesday to honor the passengers and crew of a hijacked airliner, whose heroism last September 11 may have saved many lives in Washington.
The 40 passengers and crew members on United Airlines flight 93 have become known as heroes for fighting back against the men who hijacked their plane.
It's not known what the terrorists had in mind for flight 93, but they had turned the plane toward Washington, and some experts believe they may have intended to ram it into the White House or the U.S. Capitol. Instead, the passengers and crew tried to overpower the hijackers, and the plane crashed into an empty field near the small town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Everyone on the plane was killed, but no lives were lost on the ground.
One year later, a day of observances is being held here to commemorate their sacrifice. community events include a prayer breakfast and a symphonic concert.
The day's main ceremony will be a public memorial service in the field that became flight 93's final resting place. Somerset County Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes is expecting some 20,000 people to attend the service, whose theme will be "a time for honor and hope."
"I think our program will be very reflective of both honor and hope," she said. "it's obviously a time to remember the sacrifice of the passengers and crew of flight 93. but i think it's also an opportunity for us to look forward, to try to start to determine their legacy." National homeland security director Tom Ridge, who was the governor of Pennsylvania at this time last year, will be the keynote speaker at the memorial.
Eleven-year-old Murial Borza, who lost her sister Deora Bodley on flight 93, will call for one minute of silence for worldwide peace. Sandy Dahl, the wife of pilot Jason Dahl, will also speak. and at 10:06 a.m., the estimated time of the crash one year earlier, bells will ring 40 times as the names of the passengers and crew are read. The playing of taps will follow a 21-gun salute, and 40 white doves will be released.
Later in the day, President Bush will visit the crash site for a private memorial service.