Former House speaker to headline Flight 93 ceremony

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A Congressional Gold Medal dedicated to the men and women who died on Flight 93 will be displayed for the first time during this year’s Sept. 11 commemoration at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoneycreek, near Shanksville.

The presentation of the gold medal, the highest civilian award that Congress can bestow, is one of several events planned next month at the Somerset County site to mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Congressional Gold Medal resulted from the Fallen Heroes of 9/​11 Act, enacted in December 2011, which instructed that such medals be awarded to each of the sites where life was lost as a result of the attacks.

The ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial will begin at 9:45 a.m. Sept. 11. Dennis Hastert, who was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 2001 attacks, will participate in the event. At 10:03 a.m., when hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, the names of the passengers and crew members will be read, and bells of remembrance will be rung. The ceremony also will include the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal and remarks by Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93.

The gold medal will be on display until Sept. 14 and then removed from public view until the opening of the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center, scheduled for September 2015.

The public is welcome to attend the approximately 40-minute ceremony, and although there is no seating available, guests may bring chairs. The memorial will open at 8 a.m., an hour earlier than usual, and the public is encouraged to arrive early to allow time for a shuttle from the parking lot to the ceremony.

This year’s commemoration will include a luminaria program at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10.

Candle lanterns will be placed at the Wall of Names, and family members of the victims will carry lanterns in a processional. More information about Sept. 11 events can be found at​flni. 

Anya Sostek: or 412-263-1308.

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