Day of remembrance: The passengers of Flight 93 died for us

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Americans observe a tragic and sorrowful anniversary today, eight years after terrorists attacked the United States on its home soil.

There is so much loss, most profoundly for the families who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on United Flight 93 over the skies of Pennsylvania. The rest of the nation mourns for them and for what we all have lost, a past when most of us felt secure in the blind faith that we would always be safe as long as we were at home.

This year, Pennsylvanians have reason to look forward to the 10th anniversary in 2011, when a permanent memorial should be completed to the citizens who, in their most vulnerable, final moments, acted on behalf of others. After hijackers took control of the Boeing 757 that had left Newark, N.J., with San Francisco as its destination, a group of passengers took it back, preventing what would have been another plane-turned-weapon from ramming a target in the nation's capital.

The actions of passengers Todd Beamer, Thomas Burnett Jr., Mark Bingham and Jeremy Glick, who led the charge on the cockpit, and the rest of the passengers and crew who supported their efforts made them all heroes. Everyone on board was killed when the plane crashed to the ground in Somerset County.

The wedge-shaped crater some 30 feet deep has been a temporary memorial ever since, but plans for a permanent tribute were delayed by disputes over its design and difficulty in obtaining the necessary funds and property rights. With all of the details now worked out, construction is expected to being in November.

In two years, a 2,200-acre park, a proper monument to those early warriors in the fight against tyranny, will be dedicated. And we all will give thanks to them once more.


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