Saturday, February 12, 2011

United 93 at rest in winter

I promised on twitter recently that I would post pictures I took of the final resting place of United flight 93, which was befallen by Islamic extremic terrorists on September 11, 2001.  Here it is, snow covered and captured from about thirty thousand feet during a December flight I flew from Washington, DC to Detroit, Michigan.

You can plainly see the semi-circular arc swath of landscaping that has been done in site preparation work for the national memorial.  Red maple trees will be planted on that semi-circle, and will surely be a striking visual landmark of the area during all seasons.

Previously I had been interested in finding the exact location of United 93, because I figured my flights pass by that area frequently, especially when flying Pittsburgh to Washington, or vice-versa.  Online, I searched for the latitude and longitude coordinates, and then inputted them into the FMS (Flight Management System computer) of our CRJ.  Basically, the crash site is sixty miles southeast of Pittsburgh, twenty miles south of Johnston, Pennsylvania, and about five miles east of Somerset County airport (K2G9). 

On this day there were some low clouds partly covering the area, but when we passed by the moving map location of where United 93 should be, the clouds moved out of the way and I suddenly found the site out the left window in the same direction the map display showed where it would be. 

On this Google Earth picture I placed the coordinates of where the aircraft impacted.  Forty passengers and crew perished at this location.  The famous words of Todd Beamer, "Let's Roll", had been declared.  The heroic efforts of passengers to overpower the four hijackers had been attempted.  The hijackers gave up on their evil primary plan, retreating to the only course of action that remained, barring surrender.  And this flight, the passengers and crew aboard will be remembered always, at this memorial being built for Americans and citizens of the world over, united in the fight against extreme Islamic terrorism.

150,000 tourists a year already visit the site, and here is a nice link to a comprehensize presentation of the planning of it.

There is some controversy over the memorial design, because the shape of the semi-circular grove of trees vaguely resembles a crescent, as in Islamic crescent.  I feel that this is overblown opportunism, that the topography of the site lends itself to formulating a semi-circle as is being constructed.  The architect of the memorial is not another 'secret muslim'. 

The ten year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks will be observed this September.  I hope that Americans will be able to more honestly and accurately reflect on these events, with a more informed and balanced view.  There are many questions which don't have clear answers, but that is no reason not to ask them, in these rapidly changing and tumultuous times.

God bless you, and thank you for reading my blog.