While much of the Sept. 11 remembrance focuses on New York City and the World Trade Center site Tuesday — the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks — the heroes of Flight 93 were also remembered at the National Memorial in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Tom Burnett, who grew up in Bloomington, was one of the passengers on the flight, hijacked in New Jersey by terrorists who apparently planned to crash it into a major U.S. landmark, most likely the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
When passengers on the flight surmised the terrorists’ plan, they banded together and attacked the hijackers. Faced with the possibility of losing control of the plane, the terrorists crashed the plane into an old Pennsylvania coal field.
Tuesday morning at the memorial site, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, there was an open-air service that including a reading of the names of the Flight 93 passengers and crew, ringing of the Bells of Remembrance, a wreath laying and brief remarks.
Interpretive programs continue through the day.
Burnett, who played football in Bloomington and went to the University of Minnesota, was living in California at the time; he was married and had three young girls. He was returning home that day from a business meeting in New Jersey.
He called his wife, Deena, from the plane and told her they were going to die, but he and others were going to do something.
Burnett’s picture is displayed at the Memorial, along with pictures of the other passengers and crew members.
A wall of names, with a large panel devoted to each victim, lines the path of the plane’s descent and impact.
Officials have begun building a visitors’ center in the memorial grounds that will overlook the crash site.
We visited the site last month and left in awe of the courage of those who fought back and died.