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Tower of Voices will rise at Flight 93 memorial in Somerset County

Renatta Signorini
| Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, 3:09 p.m.
John Reynolds, the former federal advisory commission chair of the Flight 93 National Memorial, talks about the vision for the memorial, and the years of work that has been put into the development of it, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
John Reynolds, the former federal advisory commission chair of the Flight 93 National Memorial, talks about the vision for the memorial, and the years of work that has been put into the development of it, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
A National Parks Police officer keeps watch, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A National Parks Police officer keeps watch, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
John Reynolds, the former federal advisory commission chair of the Flight 93 National Memorial, talks about the vision for the memorial, and the years of work that has been put into the development of it, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
John Reynolds, the former federal advisory commission chair of the Flight 93 National Memorial, talks about the vision for the memorial, and the years of work that has been put into the development of it, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Stoney Creek Township Supervisor Greg Walker, talks about the importance of the national monument, and the local first responders that responded to the plane crash, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Stoney Creek Township Supervisor Greg Walker, talks about the importance of the national monument, and the local first responders that responded to the plane crash, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Stoney Creek Township Supervisor Greg Walker, talks about the importance of the national monument, and the local first responders that responded to the plane crash, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Stoney Creek Township Supervisor Greg Walker, talks about the importance of the national monument, and the local first responders that responded to the plane crash, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
MaryJane Hartman, chief of interpretation and visitor services, speaks during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication for the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
MaryJane Hartman, chief of interpretation and visitor services, speaks during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication for the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Parks Foundation, talks about the fundraising efforts that have taken place over the past 16 years, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication for the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Parks Foundation, talks about the fundraising efforts that have taken place over the past 16 years, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication for the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Parks Foundation, talks about the fundraising efforts that have taken place over the past 16 years, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication for the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Parks Foundation, talks about the fundraising efforts that have taken place over the past 16 years, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication for the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
David Feyrer, of Butler, watches from field, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. Feyrer and his family have been coming to the memorial for the past 14 years, to pay their respects.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
David Feyrer, of Butler, watches from field, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. Feyrer and his family have been coming to the memorial for the past 14 years, to pay their respects.
Chief Ranger Norman Nelson (center), listens to the speakers, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Chief Ranger Norman Nelson (center), listens to the speakers, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Patrick White, cousin of Louis J. Nacke II, and president of the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, speaks about the importance of the voices heard through the wind chimes, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Patrick White, cousin of Louis J. Nacke II, and president of the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, speaks about the importance of the voices heard through the wind chimes, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Emily Root Schenkel, cousin of Lorraine G. Bay, and treasurer of Friends of Flight 93, speaks during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Emily Root Schenkel, cousin of Lorraine G. Bay, and treasurer of Friends of Flight 93, speaks during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Ralph Gavazzi, 73, of North Huntingdon, sits and listens, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Ralph Gavazzi, 73, of North Huntingdon, sits and listens, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
MaryJane Hartman, chief of interpretation and visitor services, kicks off the 'Soundbreaking' dedication for the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
MaryJane Hartman, chief of interpretation and visitor services, kicks off the 'Soundbreaking' dedication for the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Paul Murdoch, architect of the Flight 93 National Memorial, talks about the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that contains 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Paul Murdoch, architect of the Flight 93 National Memorial, talks about the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that contains 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Paul Murdoch, architect of the Flight 93 National Memorial, talks about the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that contains 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Paul Murdoch, architect of the Flight 93 National Memorial, talks about the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that contains 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
A family member rings the chime, that will be part of the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that will contain 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A family member rings the chime, that will be part of the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that will contain 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Paul Murdoch, architect of the Flight 93 National Memorial, stands beside a chime for the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that will contain 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Paul Murdoch, architect of the Flight 93 National Memorial, stands beside a chime for the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that will contain 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Paul Murdoch, architect of the Flight 93 National Memorial, stands beside a chime for the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that will contain 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Paul Murdoch, architect of the Flight 93 National Memorial, stands beside a chime for the 93 foot high Tower of Voices, that will contain 40 chimes for the 40 souls on board the plane, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Calvin Wilson, of Herndon Va., talks about his brother Leroy Homer, copilot of Flight 93, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Calvin Wilson, of Herndon Va., talks about his brother Leroy Homer, copilot of Flight 93, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017.
Patrick White, cousin of passenger Louis J. Nacke II, and president of the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, rings a chime, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. The Tower of Voices will be 93 feet high and contain 40 wind chimes.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Patrick White, cousin of passenger Louis J. Nacke II, and president of the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, rings a chime, during the 'Soundbreaking' dedication of the Tower of Voices, at the Flight 93 National Memorial, in Stoney CreekTownship, on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. The Tower of Voices will be 93 feet high and contain 40 wind chimes.

The first chimes of the final piece of the Flight 93 National Memorial tumbled over a sunny field Sunday in Somerset County.

“The sounds resonate with my heart,” said Patrick White, president of the Friends of Flight 93. “It is only when all 40 of them are all together next year ... I'm going to hear a message that I've been waiting a long time to hear and that is ‘You're done; good job.' ”

White and other family members and friends of those on the flight were part of a group that stood and sat in chairs in a field not far from Route 30 for a ground- and sound-breaking ceremony marking the start of work at the Stonycreek Township park. In all, about 300 people attended.

The 93-foot-tall tower will contain 40 wind chimes representing the voices of each passenger and crew member aboard the plane on Sept. 11, 2001.

Authorities believe four hijackers on United Flight 93 were headed for a target in Washington, D.C., when passengers who learned of the three other crashes — two at New York's Twin Towers and a third at the Pentagon — attempted to wrest control of the plane from them.

Moments later, the jet crashed in a Somerset County strip mine at the site of what now is the memorial.

Design of the $5 million tower, which will be powered by wind, has been painstaking, but a labor of love, for families of those aboard the airplane as well as architect Paul Murdoch and consultants from around the world who have offered input.

Murdoch said he designed the tower to be “monumental in stature but intimate in experience.”

“To do this, it has involved a great many challenges. As the actions of those 40 were unprecedented, we will build a monument the world has never seen or heard,” he said.

Each chime will be 8 to 16 inches in diameter and approximately 5 to 10 feet long. Each has been designed to have a different sound. Project music consultant Sam Pellman has been working on the harmony for the last year.

“This is the first time I've been in the presence of the actual sounding unit here,” Pellman said after the hour-long ceremony.

Family members had a chance to ring one chime — one woman used the 12-pound striker and said “Wow,” while others took photographs standing next to it. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke likened the ceremony to an “old-fashioned barn raising.”

“As the chimes ring next year, I hope we all remember that the sound we make is the sound of a great nation,” Zinke said.

White sees the tower and chimes as a rebirth of the voices on the plane and as a message for the healing power of music, he said. His cousin, Louis J. Nacke II, was on Flight 93.

“With all my heart and soul, I believe the 40's message to us ... will always be ‘United we stand,' ” he said.

About 110,000 citizens, and additional foundations and corporations, have raised the $46 million for the creation of the national park born out of the heroic acts of the passengers and crew aboard Flight 93, said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. It was important for the Tower of Voices to have its own day, he said.

“You feel it in a fundamentally different way than just seeing,” Shafroth said about the tower.

For the families, seeing the last piece of the memorial erected means the park's completion will happen soon, said Gordon Felt, president of the Families of Flight 93. His brother, Edward Felt, was on board the plane.

“Every step of the way, the National Park Service has promised us a memorial that would surpass other memorials,” Felt said after the ceremony. “We're very excited. Today's a day of celebration. Tomorrow's a day of remembrance.”

The tower will be dedicated in September 2018. Stonycreek Township Supervisor Greg Walker has a message for that date: “I want you to marvel at its majestic height and beauty, but simply close your eyes and listen.”

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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