Shanksville Memorial

Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 9:02am

The 9/11 Memorial in Shanksville is still under construction, but already attracting visitors.

The United States was under attack and it was here, above Shanksville, Pennsylvania that Americans began to fight back. Flight 93 is now a national history lesson about tragedy and bravery.

11-year-old Maeve Carei says "they didn't know at first that somebody like stole the plane and they had to be brave."

Shanksville Memorial Park Ranger Jeff Reinbold says "we treat this as a cemetery, it is their final resting place."

This field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania is in the middle of nowhere. and that is the mercy by forcing the plane down here, it's believed countless lives were saved in Washington, DC.

The hijackers' target was likely the White House or the Capitol, the symbols of American democracy. Instead the plane was swallowed up in this field.

Alice Jean heard the boom.

Alice says "we were just like numb. it just didn't seem possible to happen in Shanksville."

It has taken a long time and millions in donations to memorialize this sprawling, rural site. Only the first phase will be unveiled this weekend, 40 marble pieces from Quebec, honoring 40 passengers and crew.

Park Ranger Jeff Reinbold says "it is very much a memorial that is about being outside and being part of it. it's not something necessarily that you view, it's something you experience."

Not a day goes by that people don't travel hundreds of miles to pay homage.

Shanksville, so small, it will forever be linked to 9-11 from the small memorial at the local fire hall to the Flight 93 memorial chapel, where the victims are remembered as America's first defenders in the 9-11 attacks.

Bishop Alphonse Mascherino of Shanksville says "these were real people, 40 real people. Just ordinary people but in that moment they became heroes."

And that is what makes this national memorial special it doesn't just commemorate the tragedy, it honors courage in the face of tragedy.

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