Large crowd expected today at Flight 93 memorial

Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., view the Wall of Names on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, as the nation marks the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The Wall of Names contains the names of the 44 people who died in the crash of Flight 93 on Sept. 11. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Approximately 60 family members of the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 will attend the annual observance ceremony planned for Wednesday morning at Flight 93 National Memorial.

"Every year, (the observance) just gives the families an opportunity to come together and remember," said Brooke Neel, director of programs for Friends of Flight 93. "This is one day a year the country comes together collectively to remember that day."

At 9:30 a.m., the observance ceremony will honor the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93, who died 18 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, during a series of terrorist attacks on the United States.

Each year, the turnout of the family members and the public shows the events of Sept. 11, 2001 — especially the heroic actions of passengers and crew of Flight 93 — still resonate.

"The story really isn't diminishing," Neel said.

Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93, said Sept. 11 is a day "to recharge our batteries" and focus on the actions taken by the passengers and crew members to rally against the hijackers on their plane that day 18 years ago.

"The stories of heroism should resonate year round," Felt said. "Visitation is increasing. That's very heartening to us."

This year's ceremony will take place on the Memorial Plaza, near the Wall of Names, Neel said.

"That's as close as you can get to the crash site and the Wall of Names holds a special place in everyone's hearts," she said. "It is a memorial service. We are here to remember those who were on the plane."

This year's speakers include Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, along with Rev. Paul Britton and Felt from Families of Flight 93 and Mitchell Zuckoff, author of "Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11."

Pittsburgh's River City Brass Band will also perform during the ceremony.

"Certainly, the families are honored that the vice president will be on site, along with the secretary of the interior," Felt said.

Because there is limited seating and no parking at the site, those who wish to attend should plan to arrive early to allow time to be shuttled from parking areas to the ceremony location and go through security.

Shuttles will begin operating at 6:15 a.m. and will include accessible buses that accommodate wheelchairs. No backpacks or umbrellas will be permitted.

The annual observance will include the commemoration of the actual time the plane went down in the field near Shanksville by reading the names of the passengers and crew members beginning at 10:03 a.m. With the reading of each name, the Bells of Remembrance will be rung and a wreath will be placed at the Wall of Names.

More information, including weather updates, is available on the park website,

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