Monday, June 4, 2018

A Final Burial of Flight 93 Slated at National Memorial

Posted By on Mon, Jun 4, 2018 at 7:59 AM

click to enlarge The grounds of the Flight 93 National Memorial. - NPS
  • NPS
  • The grounds of the Flight 93 National Memorial.
The National Park Service is preparing to lay to rest the last remnants of Flight 93, which was brought down in a Pennsylvania field rather than its intended target on Sept. 11, 2001, after crew members and passengers — including Humboldt County resident Richard Guadagno — thwarted their hijackers.

According to a news release, the wreckage will be buried at the crash site later this year “in a restricted access zone on the sacred ground of Flight 93 National Memorial and will not be accessible to the public or the media.”

Guadagno, then manager of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, stormed the cockpit with others after they realized their plane was part of a targeted terrorist attack that had already devastated the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He was 38.

Nearly 3,000 people died that day, including the 40 passengers and crew on Flight 93. Guadagno was returning to Humboldt County after a trip to his native New Jersey, where he had gone to celebrate his grandmother’s 100th birthday.

click to enlarge Flowers placed at the Richard J. Guadagno Headquarters and Visitor Center, Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Sept. 11, 2014. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Flowers placed at the Richard J. Guadagno Headquarters and Visitor Center, Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Sept. 11, 2014.
According to the memorial’s website, the hijackers were headed for Washington, D.C., and would have arrived there in 18 to 20 minutes if the people on board had not acted, sacrificing their lives to save others.

Guadagno's badge and credentials, which identified him as a federal law enforcement officer, were recovered at the Flight 93 crash site and returned to his parents and sister.

“The National Park Service is deeply honored to be a partner to the Families of Flight 93 and to preserve the memory of 40 brave passengers and crew members whose courageous actions on Sept. 11, 2001, thwarted a terrorist attack on our nation’s capital,” Flight 93 National Memorial Superintendent Stephen Clark states in the release.

A dedication of the Tower of Voices, "a 93-foot-tall structure with 40 wind chimes that will serve as an enduring memory of the voices of the passengers and crew members," is set to take place at the Flight 93 Memorial on Sept. 9.

Read the release from the National Park Service below:
SHANKSVILLE, PA – Later this year, the remaining wreckage of Flight 93 will be returned to Flight 93 National Memorial as part of a longstanding effort by the Families of Flight 93, the National Park Service (NPS), and the National Park Foundation. The burial will take place in a restricted access zone on the sacred ground of Flight 93 National Memorial and will not be accessible to the public or the media.

Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded its on-site investigation of the crash in September 2001, the remaining wreckage of the plane has been in secure storage until an appropriate time to return the wreckage to the crash site at Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

“Now that we are nearing the completion of the major design components of the memorial, we are ready to return the remaining wreckage to this hallowed ground to be buried later this year,” said Flight 93 National Memorial Superintendent Stephen Clark.

The NPS will release a report of the items collected and their intended use later this year.

In 2015, Flight 93 National Memorial opened the doors to its visitor center, and this year will mark the completion of the memorial’s original design with the dedication of the Tower of Voices, a 93-foot tall structure with 40 wind chimes that will serve as an enduring memory of the voices of the passengers and crew members. A dedication ceremony is planned for September 9, 2018.

The NPS coordinated with the Families of Flight 93 to complete a search of the wreckage prior to its burial. "We requested one final search of the debris in order to determine if there were any human remains or identifiable personal items,” said President of the Families of Flight 93 Gordon Felt.

The NPS assembled a collection recovery team, led by Flight 93 National Memorial Curator Brynn Bender. “It was important for us to touch everything, so we knew, without a doubt, that every possible effort was made to reunite family members with any objects belonging to their loved ones,” said Bender. “We also searched for significant pieces that may help tell the heroic story of the passengers and crew members of Flight 93.”

Superintendent Clark said, “The National Park Service is deeply honored to be a partner to the Families of Flight 93 and to preserve the memory of 40 brave passengers and crew members whose courageous actions on September 11, 2001, thwarted a terrorist attack on our nation’s capital.”

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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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