SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa — (WTAJ) For more than a decade, an organization has worked closely with the families of Flight 93, which is keeping the stories of all 40 heroes alive along with educating the next generation on what happened on that fateful day.
Friends of Flight 93 began its journey in 2009 to be the official non-profit partner to the National Park Service and to play a role in the national memorial campaign.
“We work with the families, but we also we also work with the National Park Service, our main mission is to support the park service and to help preserve the stories of 40 passengers and crew members here at Flight 93,” Donna Gibson, president of Friends of Flight 93, said.
Gibson said since the organizations’ inception, 41 million dollars was raised to help support the memorial.
”One of the most incredible experiences is being involved with the family members, greeting visitors and hearing how they experienced the site and what they think of it,” he said. “The Friends of Flight 93 focuses on awareness, education, volunteer support, preservation and stewardship to ensure that Flight 93 National Memorial will remain accessible, relevant and inspirational to present and future generations.”
One way the organization keeps the memory of the 40 heroes alive is through a virtual speaker series speaking with family members of United Flight 93.
“People who aren’t local or aren’t able to travel we can interview them, it helps to keep the story alive of the 40 passengers and crew,” Gibson said. “It helps people to personalize who those people were and what they were like and what their lives were like.”
The events of 9/11 devastated Gibson so much that she knew she had to do something.
“I kept thinking what can I do, what can I do, what can I do, and feeling helpless,” she said.
Soon after, Gibson decided to act by volunteering with the park service. Now, she works with the families who lost loved ones on September 11th, 200, in Shanksville.
Gibson is not alone. Countless volunteers and visitors arrive at the Flight 93 National Memorial each year to pay their respects and volunteer their time all to remember the 40 heroes who sacrificed their lives for others.
The Flight 93 National Memorial Park Service said more than 1,000 visitors pay their respects at the site each day, with that number doubling on the weekends.
Gibson said some 75 million Americans were born after the 9/11 attacks, which is another reason why remembering and awareness are much needed for generations to come.
The Friends of Flight 93 have interviewed a number of family and friends of the 40 heroes who were on Flight 93.
You can visit the Friends of Flight 93 website to learn more.
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