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THE PAST WEEK was a time to remember heroes, and the most somber day for that was Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Vice President Joe Biden joined family members and others in paying their respects at the Flight 93 National Memorial at Stonycreek, Somerset County, at the spot where the United Airlines jet slammed into a field after those aboard made a heroic attempt to take over the plane from the hijackers. More than 1,000 people attended the service, which made for a quieter event than last year when the memorial was dedicated. But clearly the memory of those who died that terrible day is not waning -- the total number of visitors at the site has tripled to about 350,000 since last year. Officials expect attendance to grow further after a visitor center is completed in 2014.

AN OLD POEM titled "For the Fallen" memorializes those who have fallen in war with memorable lines: "Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn / At the going down of the sun and in the morning / We will remember them." So it is this weekend with Marine Cpl. John D. Yeager, whose remains were received back home in Westmoreland County 68 years after his bomber went missing during a night training mission in 1944 over the island of Espiritu Santo in the South Pacific; all seven Marines aboard were killed. Cpl. Yeager's remains were found years later and finally identified. Yesterday Cpl. Yeager, 23 when he died, was to be buried with full military honors in Lower Burrell. He left New Kensington all those years ago "a smiling, handsome guy," in the words of a nephew, but in the company now of immortals age does not weary him and he is remembered still.

THE BIGGEST BATTLE fought on Pennsylvania soil was Gettysburg, on July 1-3, 1863. The battle unfolded in various segments and the National Park Service used a 12-ton plaster map, 29 feet by 29 feet, with blinking lights to indicate the changing action. But when the old visitors center was razed four years ago after a new center was built, the electric map created in 1962 was divided into four large pieces and put in storage. Now the National Park Service has put the map up for online auction, in case some private party might want to preserve it. If not, it may be destroyed. No argument there. As fondly as it may be recalled by past visitors, the map has had its day as an educational tool. The Battle of Gettysburg will be forever remembered, but the map is an outdated curiosity -- and the park service is right to let it go.



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