Like the lives of millions of Americans, an ordinary field near Shanksville was transformed on 9/11.

By Matthew Merchant

A common field one day. A field of honor forever,” is etched on a glass section of the visitor center outlook at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown, Pennsylvania. At the base of hill, a bolder marks the spot where the plane crashed. The main walls of the Flight 93 National Memorial are textured to resemble Hemlock trees, a grove of which nearby is the site of the Flight 93 crash.
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“This is the last bit of air space they would have seen before they crashed. This landscape, the rolling hills, this beautiful open sky,” says Adam Sheppard, a park ranger at the Flight 93 National Memorial, of the vista from the visitor center in reference to the Americans who attempted to take control of Flight 93 after terrorists hijacked the plane on September 11, 2001.

Each panel of granite in the Wall of Names is hewn from a different vein of stone and placed at different angle. From the visitor center, the waving effect of the panels symbolizes the turbulence of Flight 93 before crashing into a nearby hemlock grove.
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At the end of the Wall of Names, a gate, crafted from the wood of nearby hemlock trees and notched with 40 diagonal lines representing the 40 passengers and crew members who died in the Flight 93 crash, guards the path to the crash site marked with a bolder, seen through the posts. The panel for Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas is also inscribed with the the phrase “and unborn child,” illuminated in the rising sun.

To read the full story, see At Ease, Captain.