We arrived in Pennsylvania on Friday, May 29, 2020. As if pulling our Airstream on a busy highway isn’t terrifying enough, we transcended that by “deserting” our pull-behind home at a truck stop for a few hours to make a detour to the Flight 93 Memorial in Stoystown, PA.
Both of us were apprehensive about unhitching the Airstream in a back corner of a major truck stop in Breezetown, but we were taking the Lincoln Highway to the memorial—a hilly two-lane road much of the way, with 9% grades going up and down and some tight turns. The memorial was in the opposite direction by several hours to where we would be staying for the week, so we took the risk and the time as we agreed that this was a must-do detour. We came to terms with the potential outcomes of the fate of our Airstream: it could be broken into, towed, ticketed, or left alone. Luckily and happily, it was the latter.
The National Park Service (NPS) Flight 93 Memorial is in a remote spot of Pennsylvania. Once we turned off the Lincoln Highway (Hwy. 30), we drove two and a half miles down a well-paved, two lane road passing along the way the Tower of Voices, which is still under construction (the tower is there but the 40 wind chimes to complete it have not yet been installed), to get to the Visitor Center Complex. Of course, this was closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but we were able to walk the sidewalk through the striking architectural structure that overlooks the memorialized debris field and Wall of Names down below. The sidewalk had inlaid markers (see picture gallery) commemorating the other devastating flights of 9/11.
To get to the Wall of Names and crash site, we drove an additional one-half mile. Another, smaller closed building (the learning center) was there, but there were various outdoor placards describing the events of September 11, 2001, focusing mostly on Flight 93 and the actions of the crew and passengers. There is an option to use one’s cell phone to listen to audio descriptions of the events of that morning. To get to the Wall of Names, we walked along the side of the crash site/debris field—now a big grassy area with a huge boulder located at the likely initial impact of the plane. The Wall of Names is comprised of marble panels, each carved with the name of one of the 33 victims/heroes on that flight. It was simple and poignant. A loved one had recently visited the wall, as there was a single bouquet of flowers laying at the base of one of the panels.
Remembering that day and thinking of what went through the minds of all the victims and heroes easily squeezes our hearts and brings tears to our eyes. This is a beautiful memorial and well worth the time if ever in or near Pennsylvania.
For more information about the Flight 93 Memorial, visit https://www.nps.gov/flni/index.htm