Tribute set today in D.C. to honor Flight 93 heroes

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WASHINGTON -- Their husbands don't agree on much politically, but Terese Casey and Kris Toomey find a lot of common ground themselves -- at least when it comes to honoring victims and heroes of the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks.

The spouses of Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey are in D.C. today to host a tribute to the 40 passengers and crew members who died when they forced Flight 93 to crash in Stonycreek near Shanksville.

They are aiming to recognize the heroes on the plane.

"They're really citizen soldiers," Mrs. Casey said in a telephone interview.

The event for members of Congress and their spouses was to be held this morning in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. About 70 couples were expected.

Speakers were to include the Toomeys, the Caseys, relatives of those aboard Flight 93, and Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Rules prohibit lawmakers and their spouses from soliciting charitable contributions inside the Capitol, but they hope to raise awareness of the need to cover a $5 million shortfall in the cost of a planned $72 million memorial at the crash site.

"We need a place where future generations come to learn about how the actions of a few people can make a profound and lasting difference," according to HonorFlight93.org, the website of the memorial campaign committee.

Mrs. Casey and Mrs. Toomey have been planning this morning's event since last winter.

"She spearheaded this and asked me to be involved. It was a very easy thing to sign on to," Mrs. Casey said.

"She's very close to this because her husband was a member of Congress at the time and the plane was, by all accounts, headed toward the Capitol," Mrs. Casey said. The passengers and crew members "are not only heroes to our country but she feels they saved her husband's life."

For more information: www.HonorFlight93.org

nation - region

Bureau chief Tracie Mauriello: tmauriello@post-gazette.com or 1-703-996-9292.


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