Wednesday, September 11, 2019

9-11 Remembered, Flight 93 18th Memorial Service

 Brenda and I attended the Eighteenth Memorial Service at the Flight 93 National Memorial.  It was a beautiful late summer morning much like that day in 2001 when our world changed.  The service and the memorial itself is a fitting tribute to those who's valor saved many lives and struck the first blow in what was to become the war on terror that eighteen years later still goes on.

We arrived at the venue via shuttle bus at 8:30

 A number of United Airline employees were present in the section where we were seated

 Security was tight.  Searches at the venue entrance were conducted by Secret Service agents and were similar to that of airport security.  Overhead Pennsylvania State Police circled. 

 Snipers were visible in distance

A close up of the group visible in the left of the above photo

 Others watched the crowd intently

Before the service Vice President Pence and his wife visited with the families 

As the ceremony began dignitaries arrived on stage. 

During the reading of the names of passengers and crew this officer set the cadence for the ringing of the Bells of Remembrance.  Upon the reading of a name he would open his right hand signaling the ringing of the first bell. 

As its tone faded his hand closed into a fist signaling the ringing of the second bell

The Bells of Remembrance

David Bernhardt, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior 

Vice President Mike Pence delivered the closing keynote speech

 Alpha Conde, President of Guinea was in the audience

The media pool

The Memorial Wall

The Pennsylvania State Police Mounted Unit assisting with security 

Dignitaries and families gather at the crash site following the public ceremony

 A visitor pauses to contemplate the only photo of the crash of flight 93

The shuttle queue to the parking lot

Standing in the shuttle queue I struck up a conversation with a young gentleman.  I ask if he had any memories of 9-11 or if he was too young. He answered that he was two years old at the time and according to his parents, slept through the whole thing.  He asked were I was and I related my story.  I told him that the first tragic memorable event in my lifetime was the assassination of  President John F, Kennedy and that I was in elementary school at the time.  I listed the explosions of the space shuttles as other events where I remember where I was and what I was doing. He stated that Sandy Hook was the incident that stands out for him.  I shook my head and said something to the effect that mass shootings are so out of control.   His answer was sad and shocking at the same time, "And there's not a damn thing we can do about it"! 

I hope he is proven wrong.