One of the planes that was hijacked on September 11 2001 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board. Many believe the passengers were able to prevent the plane from traveling to its intended target, saving an untold number of lives by sacrificing their own. A new design competition has been announced to create a memorial to the 33 passengers and seven crew members who died that day.
The organizers of the Flight 93 design competition say they want the memorial site to reflect the heroism of the passengers and crew. Larry Catuzzi's daughter Lauren Grandcolas was among those who died in the crash. "It was the only victory that day. It's probably the only solace we as family members have to know that our loved ones were very, very involved in the bringing down of that flight and obviously the saving of a great deal of lives," he said.
Flight 93 originated in Newark, New Jersey, and was headed for San Francisco on the morning of September 11, 2001, when four hijackers took over the cockpit. Many passengers aboard called family members by using in-flight telephones. They learned that two planes had just crashed into the World Trade Center. Some passengers told of their plans to rush the cockpit, in an attempt to take back the plane. Joanne Hanley heads the Flight 93 National Memorial Project. She says their actions deserve to be recognized.
"Whether someone was talking on their cell phone to their loved ones who were talking to authorities, whether someone was boiling water to pour on the hijackers, whether someone was praying with the other passengers, or whether they were just staying out of the way, they all voted to act together to do something. One cannot tell the story of 9-11 without telling about each of the flights and events of that day," she said.
United Airlines Flight 93 plunged in a Pennsylvania field at 10:10 a.m.
The giant crater that the crash left has been cleared and smoothed over, because authorities say the site contained hazardous chemicals and could not be preserved.
A makeshift memorial stands nearby, where tens of thousands of people leave gifts and remembrances each year. But the new design competition aims to create an official memorial site out of an area encompassing 890 hectares, which was named a National Park in 2002. Federal funds are currently being used to buy some parcels of privately-owned property to complete the site.
Those interested in submitting a design proposal must register with the Flight 93 by December 27. The winning memorial design will be announced in September 2005.