A decade later, the impact of the terror attacks is measured in pain, greater understanding, remembrance and new growth
Lt. Bob Weaver of the Pennsylvania State Police was in the Somerset barracks on Sept. 11, 2001, when the TV reports started coming in. Three airplanes had flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, wreaking havoc and mass destruction. It seemed like a coordinated attack.
"One of the guys said, 'At least there are no terrorist targets in Somerset,' " Lt. Weaver recalled.
Minutes later, United Flight 93 plummeted to earth not far from the barracks after passengers and crew tried to overpower four al-Qaida terrorists, and a field near Shanksville entered the history books as part of the worst terror attacks ever on U.S. soil.
As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches next weekend, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette presents its coverage below that reflects on southwestern Pennsylvania's role in the defining event of the young century – with stories, photos and videos that present eye witnesses, first responders, survivors and family members.
We look at oral histories and tributes left at the Flight 93 National Memorial and plans for next weekend's events at the site; how Muslims in the region have fared in the past decade and the stepped-up efforts at interfaith outreach; the persistence of conspiracy theories; and how 9/11 is being taught in classrooms 10 years later.
– Sally Kalson
The Flight 93 National Memorial from the western overlook.
In an instant, these people's lives would change forever – from the woman hanging laundry to the first police officer on the scene to the coroner who was tasked with identifying remains and finally to the cousin of a Flight 93 passenger.
Judy Colfer remembers every moment of Sept. 11 as if it just happened. One thing she can never forget are the piercing blue eyes of the New York City fire lieutenant she encountered as she and others fled.
Kathie Shaffer has been chronicling the lives of people who had ties to the crash of Flight 93. Her interviews always begin with this question: "Can you tell me how your day began on Sept. 11?"
The Flight 93 National Memorial in rural Somerset County is a national park, a work of landscape architecture amid rolling hills, fields and farms.
People who have visited the temporary site in Shanksville have left everything from a pair of socks to rosaries to what is believed to be a Civic Arena seat.
Many people don't accept that terrorists were behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.
It's no surprise that Muslims have come under scrutiny. At the same time, however, Pittsburgh might be a model for religious and social tolerance.
As the terror attacks move from current events to history, new challenges and opportunities await educators who must give context to the cataclysm.
A number of TV specials will recount the events of Sept. 11, 2001. One of them, "Children of 9/11," is about 11 children who lost a parent that day.