My youngest came along for the ride when I left Michigan. The plan was to visit Harper’s Ferry before going up to New England. My route was a familiar one; east on State Route 43 to Kalamazoo, then I-94 to Marshall, south on I-69 to the Indiana Toll Road, east again across the Ohio Turnpike to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We had gotten an early start and thankfully it was an uneventful trip with many familiar landmarks and rest stops. I was thankful for my EZ-pass and the knowledge that it would work, unlike in Kansas, as we went smoothly from state to state. We even snapped a picture of the “Drink Milk” sign on a barn in Pennsylvania that I had seen for years. My daughter took the photo as she was uncomfortable with me taking photos while I was driving and there was no where to stop along the busy turnpike. The farm with the barn was west of Somerset and shortly before it we had seen signs for the new Flight 93 Memorial. We decided to alter our course to visit it.
The Memorial to the passengers and crew of Flight 93 was 17 miles off the Turnpike up and down some rambling hilly country roads. There was a huge car junkyard that caught my eye. Once in the park, we followed the road for three more miles where reforestation of the former surface mine was well under way and 40 memorial groves had been planted. The outdoor Memorial Plaza has a shelter and entry area with informational panels on Flight 93, the passengers and crew, and series of events on 9/11. We walked along a long pathway with a sloping wall that marked the edge of the crash site and then examined the 40 white panels each with a name inscribed that made up the Wall of Names. Finally, we peered through a wooden gate behind which laid the crash site and a boulder marking the impact. It was a solemn experience, and brought back vivid memories of 9/11. We were glad to have paid our respects.