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Date: November 7, 2009
Contact: Lisa Linden, (917) 589-5443





Shanksville, PA, November 7, 2009 – At a solemn ceremony in a remote Pennsylvania field, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar marked the groundbreaking and start of construction for the permanent Flight 93 National Memorial. The national memorial pays tribute to the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 which plunged to earth as the heroic 40 men and women resisted terrorists seeking to attack our nation’s capital on September 11, 2001.


The Interior Secretary, whose efforts led to agreements between the federal government and the private owners of properties needed for the construction of the permanent Flight 93 National Memorial, was joined by Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, U.S. Senator Bob Casey, members of the Families of Flight 93, and officials representing the National Park Service (NPS), the National Park Foundation (NPF), the Flight 93 Advisory Commission and the Flight 93 Memorial Task Force.


Four young relatives of the Flight 93 heroes – Justin Nacke, Campbell Peterson, Peyton Peterson and Sarah Wainio – joined Secretary Salazar and the others in taking shovels in hand to “turn the earth” and symbolically begin this new phase for the Flight 93 National Memorial. (Justin Nacke is a nephew of passenger Louis “Joey” Nacke II, Campbell and Peyton Peterson are grandchildren of passengers Donald and Jean Peterson, and Sarah Wainio is a sister of passenger Honor Elizabeth Wainio.)


Individuals whose lives were touched by the Flight 93 tragedy or who are connected to the Flight 93 National Memorial’s creation served as witnesses to the poignant ceremony. They included local elected officials, first responders, NPS Flight 93 Ambassadors, supporters of the Flight 93 National Memorial capital campaign, memorial design architect Paul Murdoch and Randy Musser, one of the private landowners.


The groundbreaking is a key milestone in the creation of the Flight 93 National Memorial. The goal of a November groundbreaking was first laid out in the February 20, 2009 Letter of Commitment signed


by U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, Governor Rendell and representatives of Senator Casey, the NPS, the NPF, the Flight 93 Advisory Commission and the Flight 93 Memorial Task Force to ensure that the Flight 93 National Memorial is dedicated by September 11, 2011.


“Today’s milestone shows that we remain on a path to dedicating the Flight 93 National Memorial by September 11, 2011. We are keeping the commitment we made in memory of our loved ones. We extend our gratitude to Secretary Salazar, our elected officials, and our other memorial partners for all they have done to bring us to this important occasion,” said Gordon Felt, president, Families of Flight 93.


“Today’s participants have played a significant role in the history of the Flight 93 National Memorial. Today we begin a new chapter in that history, as we move forward toward completing a lasting national memorial that honors the 40 passengers and crew, and educates future generations about their heroic actions,” said John Reynolds, chairman, Flight 93 Advisory Commission.


“Today we mark how far we have come, and reinvest our strength in completing our journey to reach our common goal. We shall continue our work so we can in full measure return to dedicate the Flight 93 National Memorial by the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks,” said Flight 93 Memorial Task Force co-chair Jerry Spangler.


“We join all the Flight 93 memorial partners in thanking people from all corners of the world who continue to generously provide the resources necessary for the completion of the Flight 93 National Memorial. Today’s groundbreaking marks the beginning of our efforts to complete funding for a fitting national memorial and is a sign of our absolute commitment to ensuring its timely construction,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO, National Park Foundation.


The Flight 93 National Memorial is the only national park unit dedicated to the events of September 11, 2001. On September 24, 2002, the Flight 93 National Memorial Act became law creating a new national park and memorial dedicated to the 40 passenger and crew members of United Flight 93. The national memorial’s mission is to protect and honor the mortal remains of these heroes on the Sacred Ground where the plane hit the earth. The Flight 93 National Memorial will ensure that people understand and learn about the events of the tragic day.


The memorial park sits on 2,231 acres in Somerset County, approximately 80 miles outside of Pittsburgh. The permanent Flight 93 National Memorial will include the crash site, debris field and extent of human remains – the final resting places of the heroes – as well as visitor facilities, infrastructure and access roadways. The design by Paul Murdoch Architects of Los Angeles – a firm known for its environmental design sensitivity – was chosen in 2005 after an international competition that included more than 1,000 entries.


The cost of the first phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial, which includes a viewing plaza overlooking the sacred ground, an adjacent field of honor, a visitor center, 40 groves of memorial trees, landscaping, and road work and infrastructure, is $58 million of which $30 million will be paid through private contributions. The balance is obtained through federal and state funds. Since 2005, more than 55,000 donors – both large and small from across the nation and around the world – have raised over $16 million.


For more information and progress updates about the Flight 93 National Memorial, please visit or

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Last updated: February 26, 2015

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