Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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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.


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Never stop

Day one of our Sorrow to Strength conference was a success, but oh so emotional as the 30+ families each shared the reasons they were attending. Survivors relived their crashes, tears often streaking down their faces. Families of those lost did the same. No one was judgemental. No one was impatient as we let those emotions flow.

And at the end, when our large, sad and somewhat soggy family was all talked out, one of the volunteers passed out bracelets she had made. One for each person, placed into hands still holding damp tissue.

She chose the hummingbird, she said, because they never stop.

Just like us.