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Those paying tribute shape look of Flight 93 memorial

| Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 6:14 p.m.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Barbara Black of the National Park Service, who curates the collection of tributes left at the Flight 93 Memorial, addresses the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset on Saturday.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
A brick, said to be taken from a seized compound in Kandahar, was left by a member of the U.S. Special Forces at a temporary memorial for the 9/11 victims of Flight 93, which crashed into a Somerset County field.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
A message left on a quilt at the Flight 93 Memorial is signed by Stephen Ruda, captain of the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

Barbara Black unfurled the tissue paper and held up the brick.

Black, the curator of the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, then told the remarkable story behind the brick.

In 2008, it was left on the site in Somerset County where Flight 93 crashed during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It was one of thousands of tributes to the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93 who died while trying to gain control of the plane.

The brick came from the compound of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to a note left with it. U.S. Special Forces seized the compound on Oct. 20, 2001, Black said, reading the note Saturday in Somerset during a meeting of the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial.

The brick will be part of a wall in the visitors center to open in late 2015 at the memorial near Shanksville.

“I've probably related that 100 times,” Black told the group Saturday. “Every time I read it, I still get chills.”

Black described for the group how the visitors center will incorporate items left at the crash site in a spontaneous outpouring of grief.

Other items left behind at a temporary memorial — which no longer exists — will become part of the 10-by-20 foot wall, one of five that will tell the story of Flight 93 and the 40 heroes who prevented terrorists aboard from claiming another target.

Flowers, dog tags, military medals will be part of the exhibits.

Bigger mementos, such as quilts, will be rotated with other items as part of the display.

Some of the items were left within minutes of the plane plummeting to the ground on Sept. 11, 2001, Black said.

“As close as they got, that's where they left tributes,” Black said.

“The county felt these items were important and needed to be saved,” Black said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or

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