SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — For two decades, people from around the nation and the world have paid their respects to the 40 heroes who sacrificed their lives on September 11th in Shanksville, Pa. Still, 20 years later, tourists have flocked to the historic site to pay their respects.
“We see an average of about 1,000 people a day at the memorial in the summertime,” Katherine Hostetler, a park ranger with the Flight 93 National Memorial, said. “On the weekends, it will go closer to 2,000 people.”
For many who travel here, the Flight 93 National Memorial is a place for respect and healing.
“Some of them, they’ve wanted to come here for a long time and it’s a part of that closure of September 11th,” Hostetler said.
“I strongly believe that a lot of people that are visiting the site just want to see what the memorial is about; learn about Flight 93 and the grand picture because you usually think of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and maybe not Flight 93 right away.”
Kyle Newlin and his family are in the middle of a cross-country trip, and he said they had to stop and pay their respects to the brave souls that took down the terrorists that day.
“I remember, like everybody else, where I was,” he said. “Watching it on the news, being from so far away. Sometimes it can feel like you’re detached from it, and it’s a great thing to come here and be a part of it.”
This is the first time Newlin has experienced the memorial.
“It’s a great memorial,” Newlin said. “It’s perfect for conveying that mood that you have. It’s a beautiful nice serene place, and it’s kind of astonishing that this nice serene place could’ve been the site of tragedy all of the events that happened in that day.”
Since 2001, an entire generation has passed. Over 70 million people in the U.S. have been born since the attacks.
However, for many, those 20 years going by seems like yesterday.
“I can’t believe it’s been 20 years,” tourist Barbara Ford, of Florida, said. “I’m a teacher, and I was in school when that happened. I do remember that one moment walking into the lounge, and they were saying they hit the towers.”
Henry Lynch, an Army veteran from Hagerstown, Maryland, recently visited the Memorial for the first time.
“It’s a remarkable thing,” Lynch said. “It took about as much courage as you could ever see in a person, how they decided to do it and how they teamed up together.
“They saved a lot of other lives. They’re heroes and always will be.”Henry Lynch, an Army veteran from Hagerstown, Maryland.
The Flight 93 National Memorial site is open from sunrise to sunset every day. Those looking to talk with a park ranger to find out more about the memorial can head to the visitor center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
Sign up for the WTAJ Newsletter for the latest local news, weather and community events that matter to you.