Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Flight 93


We detoured, yesterday, from our drive to Washington DC, in order to visit the Flight 93 Memorial.

I recommend visiting in the late afternoon when the light is warm.

We had two phones, the car’s navigational system and a Garmin with us. Each provide different instructions. We ended up circling up and down and around the hills in which the memorial sits. It’s beautiful country but after about an hour of driving, always within 5 minutes of our destination, we were pretty frustrated.

Our first look at the Tower of Voices

Part of the problem is that there’s an old entrance that isn’t open anymore and some of our technical tools wanted to go there…and so we did. The other part of the problem is a distinct lack of signage for the new entrance.

Located on a small hill planted in wildflowers.

But eventually we made it, as the sun was starting to lower in a sky filled with big puffy grey and white clouds.

Eight columns holding the heavy chimes.

Our first stop was windchimes tower, dedicated to the 40 people on the plane that died September 11th, 2001 when the passengers put Flight 93 into the ground rather than allow themselves to be weapons aimed for the US Capitol.

There are 40 different wind chimes, each with a distinct sound.

The chimes are beautiful, but only play when the wind is at least 12 mph, and though it was getting breezy it wasn’t windy enough to hear more than one low tone.

Once in awhile there was a gust of wind.

Then we went on to the visitor center which is built into a huge concrete structure that draws you along that last flight path, and deposits you on a platform overlooking the final crash site of the plane.

Mapping the path of the plane.

It’s a beautiful field now, filled with wildflowers and birds. In the late afternoon light it glows.

The white is a tent left up after this week’s anniversary. The farm over on the hillside witnessed the crash.

We drove down to the lower area, and walked the pathway back to the wall of names. Along the way were some mementos in a space designed to collect them.

Lots of memories left on the wall.

The names etched into the wall were heartbreaking, as were the pictures there, and the flowers.

Always together, forever

We were visiting only three days after the 21st anniversary of the attack, so the flowers were freshly poignant.

We spent a long time wandering the grounds. It was so peaceful with hardly anyone else there.

Yet I couldn’t help but look back up at the visitor center, built along the flight path and imagine what it must have been like that day. What it sounded like, what it smelled like. What it looked like.

Also together forever.

There are photos, of course, of the aftermath. But I don’t think they convey the total horror that must have confronted the emergency workers when they arrived.

Hard to imagine this place as it must have been that day.

I imagine the field was a beautiful place before the plane dropped out of the sky.

Paying her respects.

And it’s a beautiful place again, a fitting tribute to the forty heroes of Flight 93.

Evening light comforts as another day slips away.

After I wrote this a friend provided a link to Sunday Morning’s piece on the Flight 93 National Memorial. It’s a short piece that will explain more about the tower and the site.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

35 thoughts on “Flight 93

  1. I’m sure it was a very powerful experience, particularly so soon after the anniversary. Great photos of site and memorials.


  2. Thanks for sharing such a place with so many emotions and memories wrapped into it’s landscape –

    You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania


  3. Moving. What a day that was. I remember it well. I had a daughter living in New York City and one living in DC. Fortunately, neither were hurt. But oh the worry. And then the grief for those who didn’t make it.


  4. The link is wonderful. Your photos are beautiful.


  5. Thanks for showing me what I have yet to be able to experience, Dawn. It sounds like a very profound thing. Love the shot of the deer paying respects! And the monument of the woman with her unborn child really made my eyes leak.


    • I know. My eyes leaked a bunch too. The deer was just a lucky thing. We were out at the end of the wall and walking back and the sun had almost set and dusk was settling in and there was a small heard of deer grazing, and one just looked at the stone and contemplated (probably was contemplating if she could eat the flowers that were out there, but I’ll stick with she was showing respect.).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s hard to believe that day was 21 years ago, it’s seems so fresh in my memory. I don’t expect I’ll ever get to see the memorial in person, so thank you for sharing your views of it.


  7. Beautiful photos and a loving, respectful description. Thanks for all this.


  8. What a beautiful sad profound place. Thank you for stopping there.


  9. Fabulous photos. My family and I visited the site in March 2015, we were on our way home from Washington, DC for spring break. It was a moving experience but we were only on site for a couple of hours and the museum and many of the things you saw were not completed. I had planned to visit on my baseball trip, but decided it was more important to spend time in Pittsburgh visiting my grandparents graves. I will have to plan another trip. Thanks for your post. Stay well. Peace.


    • Yes, next time you’re out that way plan to stop. There’s a new entrance that goes right by the tower first and then takes you down to the visitor center which looks new too. It wasn’t open when we were there, but I was OK with that. I liked the open air experience and the soft light and the warm summer breeze and the time to reflect without a lot of other people around.


  10. What a poignant experience. So unspeakably sad!


  11. The Flight 93 National Memorial is on my list of places to visit if we ever get in that direction. It looks like it does justice to the memory of those who died on that awful day.


  12. Thank you so much for showing this particular memorial. Not that we forget there was that plane with 40 heroes; it’s just that more focus is placed on New York. What a beautiful area now. I cannot even imagine.


  13. Sounds like a thoughtfully designed memorial. Love the idea of the wind chimes. I’ve never really heard much about it, now I want to go.


  14. Hard to believe it’s already been 21 years. What an emotional day it must have been visiting that memorial.


    • It was. It was beautiful and peaceful and I didn’t really want to leave but it was getting dark and we had a ways to go. I think the best thing for me was that it was after hours when we got there so it was pretty empty of other people.


  15. Tears here. I remember it well. I was on my boat in Canada, along with about eight other boats of friends. Someday I’ll post my memories of that time on my blog, travelswithtowhee, but the memories of that time are still too tender to do that now. Needless to say, the border between USA and Canada closed, slammed shut, we could not return to the USA. But the Canadians were truly wonderful people in caring for us, our boats, our needs. Those 40 people on Flight 93 who chose to die rather than let an even worse tragedy happen, and even more people be killed, will never be forgotten. I remember the immediate news releases and how we all knew we would remember that day forever, and love them forever. I like that there will be 40 chimes. Thank you Dawn.


    • You’re welcome. How long did you stay in Canada? I don’t remember when the borders opened again. If you ever come east this is a place you should visit.


      • A few of us had wanted to return to the USA in a few days … nope, border closed! Even USA citizens could not cross the border back into the USA. But the rest of us continued on with our plans of cruising in southern British Columbia for a week or so. We worried of course about what else might happen, but other than that our trip/cruise in Canada was divine.
        Yes, if I ever come east (which I must) I’ll let you know and you can tell me where to go. 🙂


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