9/11: Failing to honor those that died on Flight 93

Why didn't enough individual and corporate donors come forward to complete the uplifting Flight 93 National Memorial by this important anniversary date?

SAN DIEGO, September 6, 2011—All eyes will turn toward the great city of New York and then toward Washington D.C. in the coming days as America and the world marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Fewer people will remember to take the time to honor the citizen heroes of Flight 93, whose selfless actions in bringing down their hijacked airplane no doubt saved thousands of lives as they sacrificed their own.

Unlike many heroes of 9/11, these brave Americans were not professional rescuers who knowingly dedicated themselves to serving others. But when the time came to take action on behalf of a grateful nation, they did it.

What began as an ordinary flight from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, California, ended as a fiery crash into an open field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40  passengers and crew, plus the terrorists on board.

The cockpit voice recorder, flight data recorder, recovered evidence and the calls and text messages from the passengers themselves told the story of the passengers and crew learning about the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., and their realization they were a part of the plan.

They collectively decided to fight back.

At 10:03 a.m., on September 11, 2011, Flight 93 slammed into that Pennsylvania field at a speed of over 500 miles an hour. The 7,000 gallons of jet fuel on board exploded on impact, creating a ball of fire that could be seen for miles.

Flight 93 was the only one of the four aircraft hijacked that day which failed to reach its intended target, which is believed to have been Washington D.C.

To honor the all-American bravery, courage, and refusal to surrender in the face of terror on that day, the National Park Service and a grateful nation will honor the citizen heroes of Flight 93 with the dedication of a memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Saturday, September 10 and a 10th Anniversary Commemoration of Flight 93 at the site on Sunday, September 11.

The Flight 93 National Memorial is the only memorial that is dedicated as a national park. It is being constructed in three phrases. The first phase is called Remembering the Heroes. It focuses on honoring the 40 passengers and crewmembers who saved so many lives. The memorial includes a plaza from which visitors can view the now hallowed ground where the plane crashed, and which has been transformed into a beautiful open field full of wildflowers and water.

Flight 93 National Memorial overview. Photo courtesy bioLINIA and Paul Murdoch Architects

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be present for the Anniversary Commemoration on September 11.

The following two phases are called History in the Making and Speak with One Voice. A visitors center, memorial groves, and a new entry to the park will be added to the site.

The reason the Flight 93 National Memorial is not completed is simple: a lack of monetary support. This should bring shame to every American. The memorial is short a mere $10 million of its total $62 million price tag. Compare this with the billions spent in New York and Washington D.C.

While no one should begrudge funding committed elsewhere, why couldn’t enough individual and corporate donors be found to make the uplifting Flight 93 Memorial reality by this important anniversary date?

Shanksville, Pennsylvania is not a major metropolitan area. Few large corporations are located nearby. Apparently fundraisers approached  Fortune 500 companies for help, and most turned them down.

Bravo to Pfitzer, FedEx, Outback Steakhouse, Discovery Communications, and Verizon for stepping up with major donations. Please show your appreciation by giving these companies your business.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, the National Football Leage and the NFL Players Association have also been generous contributors. The Richard King Mellon Foundation made a $1 million donation.

But where are companies like Bank of America, which donated $20 million to the memorial project in New York? This is equal to the total sum of private donations toward the Flight 93 National Memorial. Could it be that Bank of America didn’t see a big enough return on investment in the peaceful fields of Pennsylvania?  

Flight 93 is an afterthought in the narrative of 9/11, and it shouldn’t be. Americans need to step forward and make a commitment to fully fund the Flight 93 National Memorial. There are numerous ways to give on the Flight 93 National Memorial website.

One of the easiest is to text the word MEMORIAL to 90999, and $10 will be donated immediately. Do it now.

In addition, urge the companies you do business with to step up. How about it Target? Wal-Mart? Best Buy? General Motors and General Electric? Wells Fargo and Citibank? AT&T, your competitor Verizon did the right thing.

Costco, you should be able to come up with a donation based on the spending in my zip code alone. 

The public will be able to watch the entire Flight 93 memorial dedication ceremony live online on Saturday, September 10, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Other events will be spread through the weekend. Visit www.honorflight93.org to learn about them.

Finally, please pay a virtual tribute to the heroes of Flight 93 on Facebook at www.facebook.com/honorflight93.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Copyright © 2011 by Falcon Valley Group

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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