In our travels from Lancaster back home to Pittsburgh, we stopped at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA. The road wound us all over a rural expanse of undeveloped land. No houses. No businesses. Barely any other cars. Just the three of us, driving closer and closer to a site of tragedy and gloom.
Once we parked, we had to walk a bit to the actual memorial. Only family members are permitted to visit the actual crash site, which is presently marked with a small boulder and a flag. Apparently, there is a monument in development.
Objects of rememberance were scattered across the wall leading up to the memorial. I’m not going to lie — it was hard to even breathe while we were there. It was scary being so close to where such a huge piece of our tragic history was scripted, but mostly just overwhelmingly sad.
At the end of the path, there are tall marble markers etched with the names of the crew and passengers, angled toward the direction in which the plane was crashing.
After visiting Shanksville, I can’t even begin to imagine what the Ground Zero Memorial would do to me.