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Identity & Community

Flight 93 Memorial Grows on 14th Anniversary

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA
Items have been left at the Flight 93 Memorial since it was nothing more than a cross and a small wall.

The mother of Flight 93 victim DeoraBodley walked through the new visitor center this week before the public was invited in and described it as a “very moving rendition of the story of what happened September 11th.”   

Debby Borza’s daughter Deora was a college student on September 11, 2001.  She was traveling back home to San Francisco from New Jersey where she had been visiting friends, when the plane was hijacked as part of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. 

Borza has served on a pair of boards that were instrumental in in creating the Flight 93 Memorial and has moved from California to the east coast to be closer to the sight near Shanksville, PA where the plane crashed after the passengers fought to take back control.

She knows hundreds of thousand of visitors will pass through the new 7,000 square foot center every year.

“I’m sure they will be touched, I hope that they are inspired to do something wonderful in their lives,” Borza said.  “That they have some kind of courage like those on the plane had courage to do what they did, that they (the visitor) will have the courage to take on something in their lives.”

Over the years Borza has been moved by the mementos left by visitors, first at the makeshift cross and small wall put up days after 9-11, now at the long granite walls that guide visitors to the site.

“Maybe it was something to them, so special that they wanted to leave that special item here to honor those on board of flight 93,” said Borza who is especially moved by the items that seem to be left by children.

The 7,000 square foot visitor center includes recordings of three private phone calls made from the hijacked plane, information about the 40 passengers and crew and items that tell the story of the day from beginning to end.  It culminates in a wall holding the names of the more than 3,000 victims in the three attack sites. 

“When we started to talk about the exhibits and how reverent it was going to be, then we jumped to the next step which is we have to educate the kids that have no memory of this,” said National Park Service Deputy Superintendent Keith Newlin.

Newlin said it also quickly became clear that the center had to include items to help build leadership skills.  “Because in 35 minutes they (the passengers) made several key leadership decisions,” Newlin said.

With the new center, park official believe the number of visitors will spike.  They have launched a timed ticket system for all visitors.