Victims' families like the looks of Flight 93 memorial design
Renderings of the Flight 93 National Memorial released Monday drew praise from families of the victims killed when the plane crashed in Somerset County on Sept. 11, 2001.
The architectural renderings unveiled by the National Park Service and the Flight 93 National Memorial partners provide a glimpse into the first installment of the memorial that is under construction outside Shanksville.
They depict an open-air, cast concrete memorial gateway and an accordion-style white marble wall composed of 40 vertical slabs, each engraved with the names of one of the passengers and crew members who died in the crash. A smaller, glass enclosure will be built as shelter from inclement weather.
A grant from the Johnstown-based Frank J. and Sylvia T. Pasquerilla Foundation funded the renderings by Paul Murdoch Architects.
Both the wall and memorial gateway will be part of a Memorial Plaza, made of hand-hewn hemlock covered in concrete, that overlooks the Sacred Ground, the final resting place of the passengers and crew. Visitors to the memorial will be able to get within yards of the debris field and impact site, but only the family members of those who died in the crash will be allowed to enter the Sacred Ground.
"I'm somebody who loves nature, and I'm just grateful for the whole setting," said Esther Heymann of Catonsville, Md., whose stepdaughter, Elizabeth Wainio, was killed.
Heymann said she is "deeply touched" by the wall of names and finds it appropriate that each passenger has a marble slab, yet all the slabs are connected.
"They worked as a group, and yet they were 40 individuals. ... It shows their individual identity as well as their group identity," Heymann said.
Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93, said the renderings portray "a simple yet powerful tribute to our loved ones." Felt lost his brother, Edward, in the crash.
Alice Hoglan, a Los Gatos, Calif. resident whose son, Mark Bingham, died, said she likes the low-profile way in which the memorial remembers both the flight path and the passengers and crew members.
"I appreciate the intention ... to create a landmark that rests lightly on the land," Hoglan said. "There's no ponderous structure to distract from the simple, poignant story of the heroism of that group of passengers who chose to stand and fight."
The first phase of the memorial will be dedicated on Sept. 10, a day before the 10th anniversary of the crash during which passengers and crew fought terrorists who had hijacked their San Francisco-bound plane in an attempt to crash it into a target in Washington.
About $50 million of the $60 million needed for the memorial has been raised through federal and state government funds and private donations. To donate to the memorial, visit www.honorflight93.org .