Groundbreaking for final phase of Flight 93 memorial planned
Nearly 16 years after 40 passengers on a cross-country flight took on a group of terrorist hijackers over Somerset County, officials are preparing to break ground for the final phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial.
National Park Service officials said “soundbreaking” for the Flight 93 National Memorial's Tower of Voices is set for Sept. 10 at 3:30 p.m. at the park entrance along Route 30 in Stonycreek Township.
The 93-foot-tall tower containing 40 wind chimes — one for each of the passengers and crew members — will represent the voices of those aboard Sept. 11, 2001, and how they relayed events to loved ones via cellphones. Construction is to be complete in 2018.
Authorities believe four hijackers aboard 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 is now the memorial.
Groundbreaking for the Tower of Voices marks the final phase of a 16-year effort to pay tribute to the heroes.
Officials said the memorial will host a 16th anniversary observance of the crash beginning at 9:45 a.m. Sept. 11. The start time commemorates the time period in which the passengers and crew took action to thwart the terrorists.
Debra Erdley is a Tribune- Review staff writer.