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Flight 93 Memorial's 'Tower Of Voices' Will Set The Tone For Reflection, NPS Says

A new sound installation is in progress at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.

The 93-foot-tall Tower of Voices is the final project for the memorial, which was established a few months after the 9/11 attacks. Thirty-three passengers and seven crew died aboard United Airlines Flight 93 in 2001 after four hijackers took control of their San Francisco-bound Boeing 757 en route from Newark, N.J.

A subsequent investigation found the crash occured after passengers and crew fought for control of the aircraft, which was less than 20 minutes in flying time from reaching Washington, D.C.

The tower will feature 40 booming, aluminum tubes that range in size from 8 to 16 inches in diameter, to 5 to 10 feet long. It be located where visitors enter and exit, and each tube will be angled to catch the wind, sending the sound around the 400-acre, bowl-shaped park. Its chime system was designed by Illinois-based Fugate Inc., using music theory to identify a range of frequencies that produce a unique but compatible musical note for each chime.

“It really sets the tone, if you will, for their visit,” said Stephanie Loeb, public affairs specialist with the National Parks Service.

Loeb said early sound renderings suggest its collective melody will be audible as guests take in other features like the Memorial Wall, the treelined walkway, impact site, and visitor center. Its installation is a culmination of years of work to rehabilitate what was once a deforested strip mine, she said.

“When you come there, you can see significantly that this ground has been loved and cared for, just as the memory of the 40 has loved and cared for.”

Tower of Voices is on track for dedication September 9. Prospective visitors can keep up with its progress online.

“It’s very important to the families,” Loeb said, “because this really is wrapping up everything that we’ve been working on for this memorial and bring some closure to this sacred ground.”