Dedication of the Flight 93 National Memorial

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Jon Jarvis:
I’m Jon Jarvis, the Director
of the National Park Service, and I am humbled to be here this
morning with the families of the heroes of Flight 93 to
dedicate this Memorial to your loved ones. Today, we also recognize those
who made this Memorial to the passengers and crew of
Flight 93 a reality, people from this
community, from this state, and from across the nation who
share an unwavering commitment to make this field
in Shanksville, Pennsylvania an eternal tribute
to those whose unselfish actions spared lives of so many. Thousands of people have made
the journey to be here in this solemn place, and millions more
are watching or listening to this ceremony. Please, welcome you all. Let me also welcome several
of our distinguished guests, Speaker of the
House, John Boehner. (applause) Members of the Congressional
Delegation here with us as well. (applause) There are many state elected
officials here as well representing the
State of Pennsylvania. (applause) And there are many local
officials who have been so instrumental in protecting
this site over the years. (applause) Ten years ago, Flight 93 took
off from Newark, New Jersey, bound for San Francisco. Terrorists hijacked that plane
and three others that terrible day as part of an organized
attack on this country. Now, hijackers turned the plane
toward Washington, D.C., aimed, we believe, at the
United States Capitol, where both the House and
the Senate were in session. They never made it. Because of the determination and
valor of the passengers and crew of Flight 93, that plane
crashed in this field, less than 20 minutes by air
from its presumed target. In the days that followed,
as the courageous story of what happened aboard
Flight 93 emerged, the flag that had been at
half staff above the U.S. Capitol was brought here by
Senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum to fly as a
solemn tribute above the recovery personnel and the
investigators as they sorted through the wreckage. In just a moment, following the
presentation of the colors of the National Park
Service Honor Guard, I ask that you turn your
attention to the flagpole behind you as two FBI agents who were
here during that investigation will once gain raise that flag,
the flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol on September 11th as
the first flag to fly over this permanent memorial. As we dedicate this memorial and
commemorate the inspiring story it tells, those who lost their
lives are never far from our thoughts or from the thoughts
of those who were spared by their actions. Among us today are people who
were in the Capitol or at the White House on September 11th. I would ask them
to please stand. (applause) Now, I would invite everyone to
stand for the invocation offered by Father Daniel Coughlin who
was Chaplin of the House of Representatives in 2001 and to
remain standing for the singing of the national anthem and the
presentation of the colors. Father Coughlin. Father Coughlin:
Let us pray. God bless America. Here we stand, united in
memory and dedication. Here, a prayer rises
from hallowed ground, made secret by a great
heroic self sacrifice so others might live. Here is found the beginning
of a new national pledge of allegiance, inspired by those
who would grasp the few moments given them to take matters
into their own hands and truly make a difference. Resolved never to be
victims of circumstance, here true Americans, witness
to a living truth beyond themselves, their hope to free
others who with them will change the world. Desirous to end
terrorism and violence, they became willing seed,
planted for freedom’s harvest. Only unbelievers, Lord God,
continue to seek a sign of your love and forgiveness, for we
know you have heard the prayers murmured here over a decade. Has this anguish been
neglected too long? Have we not witnessed enough? Ordinary people, on their way
to work or family reunion, offer on the altar of this plane
all they had, all they loved. Then threatened, they
refused to be paralyzed, finding within themselves
an art beyond politics. They break the silence and
decidedly act together. They do only what is possible
in an impossible situation. Because they are your
children, they find within themselves true freedom. From them, Lord, teach us how
to release ourselves from the seatbelt of economics and draw
us together to rush forward to the future, unafraid
because you again give us a sense of direction. Lord, by this dedication, lift
us from sin and death to renewed faith and prayer. Bring us and all our sisters
and brothers to a new life, for we place all our trust in
you, both now and forever. Amen. ♪♪ (Star-Spangled Banner) ♪♪ (applause) Jon Jarvis:
You may be seated. This memorial is to
40 remarkable people. In less than 30 minutes, they
understood their situation, voted on what to do, and acted. Each of them is
an American hero. Poet Robert Pinsky will now
share with us a reading and then call the names of
the passengers and crew. As each name is read,
representatives of the first responders will toll
the bells of remembrance. Gordon Felt, President of
the Families of Flight 93, a steadfast supporter of this
memorial and brother of Flight 93 passenger, Edward Felt, will
then offer his thoughts on this day on this memorial. Robert. Robert Pinsky:
Any people, a people,
is what it remembers. For us, the American
people, Flight 93, because we remember it, has
become a significant part of who we are and what
we are as a people. However, let’s confess and
acknowledge that in a communal occasion of memory, and
whenever we speak of memory, we also are thinking
about forgetting. And we can’t know what our
great-grandchildren will remember, but we know
they will remember this. There’s always the fear
of the waters of Lethe, the river of forgetfulness. In a beautiful two-line
poem for the 19th century, leafy is mentioned. Here’s the two line
poem: On love, on grief, on every human thing,
time sprinkles Lethe’s water with his wing. And it is true that
on love and on grief, forgetfulness is
sometimes sprinkled. The two very short poems I’m
going to read to you deal first with the way we can’t
help what we remember. Nobody wanted to
remember this event. We didn’t want to have
the burden as was the honor of this memory. The first poem is about that
helplessness that we remember, whether we want to or not. And the second poem involves
the redeeming decency, reasonableness — and in the
case of these 40 people — indeed, heroism. The first poem, about
needing to remember, even if you don’t want to, about
the way the world has changed. Like many great
things about events, this poem is written decades
before September 11th by the great Brazilian poet,
Carlos Drummond de Andrade. It’s called “Souvenir
of the Ancient World”. Clara strolled in the
garden with the children. The sky was green
over the grass, The water was golden
under the bridges, Other elements were blue
and rose and orange. A policeman smiled. Bicycles passed. A girl stepped onto the
lawn to catch a bird. The whole world, Germany, China,
all was quiet around Clara. The children looked at the sky. It was not forbidden. Mouth, nose, eyes were open. There was no danger. What Clara feared were the
flu, the heat, the insects. Clara feared missing the
eleven o’clock trolley, waiting for letters
slow to arrive, not always being able
to wear a new dress. But she strolled in the
garden in the morning. They had gardens. They had mornings in those days. That’s a poem about a
cataclysmic event happening. And it seems there will
be no more gardens. Second poem I’ll read to you
before reading the 40 names also is not written in English. It’s by the great polish
poet, Czeslaw Milosz. I’ll read it in my translation. The poem is called “Incantation”. And for me, it evokes the
fact that these people, when they got on the airplane,
had no intention of being heroes, voting, protecting. They wanted to go
somewhere on ordinary, reasonable human business. And then their imagination
was challenged by disaster. Incantation. Human reason is
beautiful and invincible. No bars, no barbed wire,
no pulping of books, no sentence of banishment
can prevail against it. It establishes the universal
ideas in language and guides our hand so we write Truth and
Justice with capital letters, lie and oppression with small. It puts what should be
above things as they are. It is an enemy of despair
and a friend of hope. It does not know Jew from
Greek or slave from master, giving us the estate
of the world to manage. It saves austere and transparent
phrases from the filthy discord of tortured words. It says that everything
is new under the sun, opens the congealed
fist of the past. Beautiful and very young are
Philo-Sophia And poetry, her ally in the
service of the good. As late as yesterday, nature
celebrated their birth. The news was brought to
the mountains by a unicorn and an echo. Their friendship
will be glorious. Their time has no limit. Their enemies have delivered
themselves to destruction. I’ll now say the 40 names. Christian Adams (bell tolls) Lorraine G. Bay (bell tolls) Todd M. Beamer (bell tolls) Alan Anthony Beaven (bell tolls) Mark Bingham (bell tolls) Deora Francis Bodley (bell tolls) Sarah W. Bradshaw (bell tolls) Marian R. Britton (bell tolls) Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. (bell tolls) William Joseph Cashman (bell tolls) Georgine Rose Corrigan (bell tolls) Patricia Cushing (bell tolls) Jason M. Dahl (bell tolls) Joseph DeLuca (bell tolls) Patrick Joseph Driscoll (bell tolls) Edward Porter Felt (bell tolls) Jane C. Folger (bell tolls) Colleen L. Fraser (bell tolls) Andrew “Sunny” Garcia (bell tolls) Jeremy Logan Glick (bell tolls) Kristin Osterholm White Gould (bell tolls) Lauren Cartuzi Grandcolas (bell tolls) and unborn child (bell tolls) Wanda Anita Green (bell tolls) Donald Freeman Greene (bell tolls) Linda Gronlund (bell tolls) Richard J. Guadagno (bell tolls) LeRoy Homer (bell tolls) Toshiya Kuge (bell tolls) CeeCee Ross Lyles (bell tolls) Hilda Marcin (bell tolls) Waleska Martinez (bell tolls) Nicole Carol Miller (bell tolls) Lewis J. Nacke, II (bell tolls) Donald Arthur Peterson (bell tolls) Jean Hoadley Peterson (bell tolls) Mark David Rothenberg (bell tolls) Christine Ann Snyder (bell tolls) John Talignani (bell tolls) Honor Elizabeth Wainio (bell tolls) Deborah Jacobs Welsh (bell tolls) ♪♪ (bagpipes playing) ♪♪ (applause) Gordon Felt:
Vice President Biden, President
Bush, President Clinton, Secretary Salazar, Speaker
Boehner, friends, families, and all those that chose to
take time today to share in the bittersweet celebration
of this memorial dedication, thank you for honoring the
memory of the passengers and crew of United Flight
93 with your presence. Ten years ago, we first came
to this hallowed ground. We were devastated,
nearly broken. Our lives had changed in an
instant and at a time when we least expected the potential
for such evil in the world. Today, with the dedication of
the Flight 93 National Memorial, we are assured that the enduring
legacy of our loved ones and their collective actions
on September 11, 2001 will be preserved, providing
comfort, inspiration, and education for
future generations. It has been a long
road to this very day. It seems to have
past in an instant. So many hurdles, so many steps
to take, procedures to follow. Only a project as worthy as
this could sustain a level of dedication on the part of so
many that would see us through to this dedication on
this 10th anniversary. On this occasion, it is proper
and fitting to acknowledge those first responders joining us
today that were called to action within minutes of the
crash of Flight 93. As the course of our lives was
so violently altered that day, they heard the call to
duty and, in their own way, were the first to honor our
heroes through their actions. This level of
action, dedication, and compassion within the
Somerset County community and surrounding areas on the
morning of September 11th, 2001, and during the period of
recovery and investigation was not unique,
but rather the norm. Whether it is the ambassadors
standing vigil here at the memorial, volunteers working
with the National Park Service to preserve artifacts
and oral histories, or community members opening
their homes and hearts to families in our time of grief,
this community has embraced this memorial project with
all the dignity, grace, and honor I’ve come to
realize is pervasive here in southwestern Pennsylvania,
and across the Commonwealth to Harrisburg. Senator Casey, Senator Toomey,
Representative Shuster, Representative Critz, the
entire Pennsylvania delegation, as well as long-time champions
of the Flight 93 National Memorial, former Governor
Rendell, former Governor Ridge, Senator Specter and the
late Congressman Murtha, you have honored our
government’s commitment to be an active partner in the
development of this project. With such upheaval in our world
today you’ve continued to fight the good fight in order to
ensure this project has stayed on schedule and is continued
to be appropriately funded. To the families, this
sacred ground holds a deep and special significance. This is the final resting place
of the crew and passengers of Flight 93, and we have worked
hard to ensure that it is treated with the proper
care and respect. We are grateful to Secretary
Salazar and the National Park Service for their leadership
in this memorial project, as well as for their
current and future stewardship of this lands. Superintendent Newlin, the
Project Manager Reinbold, former Superintendent Hanley
and the entire team of rangers, ambassadors and volunteers, we
trust that you will continue to be the fierce advocates for
our loved ones, moving forward, that you have demonstrated
to be thus far. For while we are dedicating
a memorial on this day, our job is not done. We look forward to a timely
completion of this memorial project so that as future
generations come to Somerset County seeking answers, they
will have the ability to experience the complete vision
of the memorial design. The story of Flight 93 is one
that resonates with all that would hold near to their
hearts the rule of law, the love of family, and the
desire to control the destiny of one’s life. Over 70,000 people from across
the globe have demonstrated their support for the Flight
93 National Memorial through financial support, and nearly
1.5 million individuals have already come to this sacred
ground in order to pay their respects to our 40 heroes. They have come asking
questions, seeking perspective, as well as to tell their own
stories and experiences of September 11th, 2001. All that have made the
pilgrimage to this site, all that have worked tirelessly
to create this memorial, and all of those that refuse to
forget the individuals and their collective actions honor
the 40 crew and passengers of United Flight 93. We must choose to be inspired
by the story of Flight 93, and seize the opportunity to
hold fast to the hard-fought lessons learned on this sacred
ground just ten short years ago. As long as we continue to
remember the actions of our loved ones, they remain alive in
our hearts and in the hearts of our nation. Thank you. (applause) Sarah McLachlan:
♪♪ (singing: I Will Remember You) ♪♪ (applause) Jon Jarvis:
Thank you, thank you Sarah
McLachlan — that was beautiful — for joining us today
and for that perfect piece. This memorial would not have
been possible without the strong and unwavering support of
individuals, governments, groups, corporations and
foundations from across the country that have made personal
and financial commitments to see it through. We welcome representatives
of several of those groups. The first is Chris Sullivan,
Chairman of the Flight 93 Capital Campaign and Vice
Chairman of the National Park Foundation. Chris. (applause) Chris Sullivan:
Thank you, Jon, and thank you
for all that you’ve done for the Flight 93 National Memorial. Your leadership is remarkable. Thank you very much, Jon. As a fund raising partner of
the National Park Service, the National Parks Foundation
is privileged to work with a dedicated group of partners. The corporation, businesses,
foundations and other organizations, the law
firm of Porter Wright, who did pro bono
work on the land, who are committed to protecting
this hallowed ground, yet none of this, nobody has
given more than the relatives and family members of the 40
men and women of Flight 93. They feel the weight of the
loss and we admire you for your courage, your determination,
your commitment, and your persistence in seeing
this National Memorial becomes a reality, and we’re very excited
that today the first step of that is being completed. This is an important endeavor
to create a permanent place of recognition of the
heroes, your loved ones, so that each generation knows
of the incredible heroism, sacrifice, and horror that
took place here ten years ago. I would like to especially
thank our honorary co-chairmen, General Tommy Franks
and Governor Tom Ridge, for first asking
me to participate, but more for your numerous trips
and meetings with donors and your ongoing and positive
enthusiasm and inspiration to see this effort through. I want you two to stand up so
everybody can say thank you. (applause) As Gordy mentioned, some 75,000
individuals and organizations have made commitments to
this national memorial. These donations,
both large and small, inspire us to continue to move
forward in order to fulfill the promise we made ten years ago
to remember these brave souls on board Flight 93. Your names will forever be
recognized in our honor roll, as well as in our hearts for
your extraordinary generosity. Thank you for your part in
making and dedicating this national memorial today. Though over 1.5 million visitors
from around the world have visited the memorial, today
marks the first time that we walk across the plaza and
stand before this wall, and come face with
the quiet meadow, surrounded by thousands
of others who share the memories of 9/11. Visiting here stirs the memories
and emotions that are still raw. We reflect — and we do —
reflect on the incredible courage and conviction of
the heroes of Flight 93, as well as the heartbreak and
the sorrow of their loved ones. We are thankful that these
ordinary citizens stood up and stopped another deadly
and destructive attack on our nation. We’d like to thank five
organizations for underwriting today’s events: Alcoa
Foundation, Bank of America, Erie Insurance,
Highmark, and Verizon. Thank you. (applause) Today’s dedication marks an
important milestone in the history of progress of the
Flight 93 National Memorial, but it’s not the final
step in the journey of healing and remembrance. What we see today is only
part of the memorial. Behind you will be a visitor’s
center filled with learning resources and public programs,
40 memorial groves encircling the vast Field of Honor, and a
Tower of Voices whose tones will echo across this land. America has a long tradition of
honoring its heroes in national parks, from the calm
waters of Pearl Harbor, to the majestic mountains
of Mount Rushmore, to the enduring legacy
of Martin Luther King, Jr. We are pleased that
these 40 men and women, the heroes of Flight
93, will be so honored. We are confident we can
realize the full vision of the national memorial. We ask for your continued
support and ask you to encourage others to learn more about
our efforts and go to HonorFlight93.org if you
can get them to participate. This has been a remarkable
journey, and again, we have still work to do,
but thank you, families. With your inspiration
to all of us, we’re going to get this done. With that, I’d like to present
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who’s been
just absolutely fantastic in these efforts. Mr. Secretary. (applause) Secretary Salazar:
Thank you very much, and good
afternoon to all of you and to Vice President Biden, to Dr.
Biden, to President Clinton, to President Bush, to Mrs.
Bush, to Speaker Boehner, and Senators Casey and Toomey,
and all the members of the Congressional delegation,
the elected officials, but especially to the families
today of Flight 93 who have worked so hard to make
this day possible. We join together as friends
and as families, as citizens, to forge from our memories
an enduring monument to love, courage, and sacrifice. In one morning, a turn of
history and a rush of heroes forever changed this land and
this nation and this world. The battle that began six miles
overhead ended with a roar of engines in this area behind
us in the Stonycreek River. Since that day, millions of
Americans have come to honor their heroes of Flight 93. They have brought to this
hallowed ground their pictures, their letters,
and their prayers. And the people of this land,
themselves survivors and witnesses and first responders,
welcomed those who came. They helped us mourn,
they helped us reflect, and they helped us build a
memorial for all of America and all the world for all time
to see right in this place. To the citizens of Somerset
County and to those who led that effort, including Governor Ridge
and Governor Rendell and General Franks and so many others,
we thank you for making this day possible. To the landowners of this place
in Somerset County who gave of their property to this nation
so that we might honor those who gave their lives
here, we thank you. And to the architect,
Paul Murdochk, who kept true to the
landscape and to this event, your design has moved us, our
hearts, from the beginning. To the families of Flight 93,
whom I have come to know well over the years, and to the
Flight 93 Advisory Commission, the Flight 93
Memorial Task Force, the National Park Foundation,
and the relentless and undying efforts of Neil
Mulholland, its president, and to all Pennsylvania’s
elected officials, thank you for your leadership
and for your vision. To the tens of thousands of
citizens who have donated to this cause, more than 75,000
so far, you honor us all. And to the families themselves
who have suffered the unspeakable tragedy but who
rededicated themselves so deeply to protecting this
final resting place, their partnership in this
process, in this place, will ensure that the
legacy of your loved ones is never forgotten. I am honored and I am humbled to
have worked with all of you to make this day happen, so we will
never forget those heroes who gave their lives on
this hallowed ground. Today this special place,
these 2200 acres here, enter the care and trust of the
Department of the Interior and the National Park Service
as the 389th unit of the National Park System. It joins the hallowed grounds
of Gettysburg and Yorktowne, Selma and Pearl Harbor, as a
place where patriots gave their lives for this nation. Here, like so many lands
and sites we protect, we are reminded of that which
binds us as one people. We are reminded that we all
share in our nation’s triumphs, as well as its trials. We share dreams of
peace and prosperity, and we are reminded that we
stand up for one another, fight for each other, and defend
the rights and dignity endowed to all humankind. The heroism of the passengers
and crew of Flight 93 will endure forever. They will live in the hearts of
visitors moved by the sights and sounds of this place. The field of honor. The groves of trees. The wind chimes that will
one day be heard throughout this landscape. On behalf of the men and women
of the National Park Service and the Department of Interior, we
pledge on behalf of President Obama, on behalf of
this nation’s citizens, we pledge to guard this hallowed
ground so that all who visit may learn what happened here. We will tell the story of Flight
93 and its heroic 40 passengers. We will ensure that the 40
patriots who gave their lives are never forgotten, and we will
see to it that the American values so evident that
day, determination, resilience and service, continue
to inspire us, guide us, and give us hope for our future. Now it is my honor to read a
letter from President Carter, who was not able to come, but
asked that I read this letter to all of you who
are assembled here. He says, “I join with all of you
in the dedication of the Flight 93 Memorial, in the desire to
honor and remember the men and women who died here
ten years ago tomorrow. At a time of great sadness, we
nevertheless were inspired by the courage and sacrifice
manifested by the passengers and crew of United Flight 93. Our nation was stricken by
an unprecedented attack that brought death and injury
to thousands of people, and suffering to millions
in the United States and around the world. I recognize that personal losses
of the families and friends of those who perished in
New York and Washington, as well as Pennsylvania. They receive my
deepest condolences. All of us Americans suffered and
found it difficult to understand such evil acts. The proper response includes
an enhanced defense against terrorism and a renewed
dedication to the values that make the United
States a great nation. A commitment to truth, justice,
peace, freedom, humility, human rights, and generosity. The creation of this National
Memorial Park will help us remember what we have
lost and what we must do. I expect it to be an inspiration
and a comfort to all of us. Roslyn and I send our
congratulations to those responsible for this memorial,
and our prayers for consolation and hope. Sincerely, Jimmy Carter.” (applause) It is my honor to present to all
of you here in Somerset County, in Pennsylvania, the 43rd
President of the United States, George W. Bush. (applause) Former President George W. Bush:
Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary,
thank you very much. Mr. Vice President, Dr. Biden,
President Clinton, Mr. Speaker, members of Congress. My friends Tommy
Franks and Tom Ridge, thank you for helping raise
the money for this memorial. Members of the National Park
Service and the National Park Foundation, all those who
supported this memorial, but most importantly the
families of Flight 93. Laura and I are honored to join
you in dedicating this memorial to the heroes of Flight 93. When the sun rose in the
Pennsylvania sky ten years ago tomorrow, it was a
peaceful September morning. By the time it set, nearly
3,000 people were gone, the most lives lost on American
soil in a single day since the battle of Antietam. With the distance of a decade,
9/11 can feel like a part of a different era. But for the families of
the men and women stolen, some of who’ve joined us
today, that day will never feel like history. The memory of that morning
is fresh, and so is the pain. America shares your grief,
we pray for your comfort, and we honor your loved ones. September the 11th, 2001,
innocent men and women went to work at the World Trade Center,
they reported for duty at the Pentagon, they boarded
American Flights 11 and 77, United Flights 93 and 175. They did nothing to provoke or
deserve the deliberate act of murderer that al
Qaeda carried out. One of the lessons of
9/11 is that evil is real, and so is courage. When the plane struck
the World Trade Center, firefighters and police
officers charged up the stairs into the flames. As the towers neared
collapse, they continued the rescue efforts. Ultimately more than 400 police
officers and firefighters gave their lives. Among them was the chief of the
New York City Fire Department Peter Ganci. As a colleague put it, he would
never ask anyone to do something he didn’t do himself. Pentagon service members and
civilians pulled friends and strangers from burning rubble. One Special Forces soldier
recalls reaching through a cloud of smoke in
search of the wounded. As he entered one room, he
prayed to find someone alive. He discovered a severely burned
woman and carried her to safety. They later met in the hospital,
where she explained that she’d been praying for rescue. She called him her
guardian angel. And then there’s the
extraordinary story we commemorate here. Aboard United Airlines Flight
93 were college students from California, an ironworker
from New Jersey, veterans of the Korean
War and World War II, citizens of Germany and Japan,
a pilot who had rearranged his schedule so that he could take
his wife on a vacation to celebrate their anniversary. When the passengers and crew
realized the plane had been hijacked, they reported
the news calmly. When they learned that the
terrorists had crashed other planes into targets
on the ground, they accepted greater
responsibilities. In the back of the cabin,
the passengers gathered to devise a strategy. At the moment America’s
democracy was under attack, our citizens defied their
captors by holding a vote. The choice they made would
cost them their lives, and they knew it. Many passengers called their
loved ones to say good-bye, then hung up to perform
their final act. One said, “They’re getting ready
to break into the cockpit. I have to go. I love you.” Another said, “It’s up to us. I think we can do it.” And one of the most stirring
accounts, Todd Beamer, a father of two with a pregnant
wife at home in New Jersey, asked the Airfone operator
to join him in reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Then he helped lead the charge
to the front of the plane with the words, “Let’s roll.” With their selfless act, the
men and women who stormed the cockpit lived out the words,
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down
his life for friends.” And with their brave decision
they launched the first counteroffensive of
the War on Terror. The most likely target of the
hijacked plane was the United States Capitol. We’ll never know how many
innocent people might have been lost, but we do know this:
Americans are alive today because the passengers and
crew of Flight 93 chose to act, and our nation will
be forever grateful. The 40 souls who perished on the
plane left a great deal behind. They left spouses and
children and grandchildren who miss them dearly. They left successful businesses
and promising careers, and a lifetime of dreams that
they will never have the chance to fulfill. They left something else:
A legacy of bravery and selflessness that will
always inspire America. For generations people
will study the flight, the story of the Flight 93. They will learn that individual
choices make a difference, that love and sacrifice can
triumph over evil and hate, and that what happened above
this Pennsylvania field ranks among the most courageous
acts in American history. The memorial we dedicate today
will ensure that our nation always remembers those
lost here on 9/11, but we have a duty
beyond memory. We have a duty beyond honoring. We have a duty to live our lives
in a way that upholds the ideals for which the men and
women gave their lives. To build a living memorial to
their courage and sacrifice. We have a duty to find
common purpose as a nation. In the days after 9/11 the
response came like a single hand over a single heart. Members of Congress from both
sides of the aisle gathered on the steps of the Capitol and
sang, “God Bless America.” Neighbors reached out
to neighbors of all backgrounds and beliefs. In the past decade our country
has been tested by natural disaster, economic turmoil,
anxieties and challenges here at home and abroad. There have been spirited
debates along the way. It’s the essence of democracy. But Americans have never been
defined by our disagreements. Whatever challenges we face
today and in the future, we must never lose faith in our
ability to meet them together. We must never allow
our differences to harden into divisions. Second, we have a duty to
remain engaged in the world. 9/11 proved that the conditions
in the country on the other side of the world can have an
impact on our own streets. It might be tempting to think it
doesn’t matter what happens to a villager in Afghanistan
or a child in Africa, but the temptation of
isolation is deadly wrong. The war of oppression, anger and
resentment will be a source of never ending
violence and threats. A world of dignity, liberty
and hope will be safer and better for all. And the surest way to move
towards that vision is for the United States of America
to lead the cause of freedom. Finally, we each have
a duty to serve a cause larger than ourselves. The passengers aboard
Flight 93 set an example that inspires us all. Many have followed their path
of service by donating blood or mentoring a child or
volunteering in desperate corners of the earth. Some have devoted their careers
to analyzing intelligence or protecting our borders
and securing our skies. Others have made the
noble choice to defend our nation in battle. For ten years our troops have
risked and given their lives to prevent our enemies from
attacking America again. They have kept us safe. They have made us proud. And they have upheld the
spirit of service shown by the passengers on Flight 93. Many years ago in 1863 another
President came to dedicate a memorial site in this state. He told his audience that in a
larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we
cannot hallow this ground. For the brave souls who
struggled there had consecrated it far above our poor
power to add or detract. He added the world will little
note nor long remember what we say here but it can never
forget what they did here. So it is with Flight 93. For as long as this memorial
stands we will remember what the men and women aboard
the plane did here. We will pay tribute to
the courage they showed, the sacrifice they made,
and the lives they spared. The United States
will never forget! May God bless you all. (applause) Former President Bill Clinton:
Before President Bush
came up to speak, I asked him if he was
having a hard time. And he said, I was doing
fine until I looked at you. All of you. (laughter) Last night Hillary came home
after spending the day in New York and her eyes were red
because ten years ago she was the Senator representing those
343 firemen and nearly 900 people from Canter Fitzgerald
who died and all the others. As we remember what happened in
New York at the Pentagon and here, all the rest of us have
to honor those who were lost, to thank those who loved them
for keeping their memory alive, raising their children, and
finding the strength to go on with your own lives. I think we should also thank
President Bush and those who served with him, Vice President
Biden, President Obama, those who served with them
for keeping us from being attacked again. (applause) I thank them for that. Speaker Boehner, I thank you and
the Members of the Congress who are here and who have been in
the Congress for the last ten years trying to respond to the
findings of the 9/11 Commission and improve our ability
to secure our homeland. But here in this place
we honor something more. I was very moved, as you were,
when President Bush calmly recounted the facts of what
happened with your loved ones over this field a decade ago. There has always been a special
place in the common memory for people who deliberately,
knowingly, certainly, lay down their lives for
other people to live. President Bush is from Texas. I sometimes think since
I grew up in Arkansas, that is the more important
difference between us than our partisan differences. But every child I grew up with
was raised on the memory of the Alamo, the defining
story of Texas. Why? Because those people knew
they were going to die. But the time they bought and the
casualties they inflicted in the cause of freedom allowed the
whole idea of Texas to survive. And those who live there now
to enjoy the life they do. The first such great story I
have been able to find that reminds me of all your
loved ones, however, occurred almost 2500 years ago
when the Greek King of Sparta, facing a massive,
massive Persian Army, took 300 of his finest
soldiers to a narrow pass called Thermopylae. There were thousands,
upon thousands, upon thousands of people. They all knew they
were going to die. He told them that
when they went. And the enemy said, we are going
to fill the air with so many arrows that it will be dark! And the Spartans said, fine,
we will fight in the shade! And they all died. But the casualties they took and
the time they bought saved the people they loved. This is something different. For at the Alamo and at
Thermopylae, they were soldiers. They knew what they had to do. Your loved ones just
happened to be on a plane, as Mr. Pensky said. With almost no time to decide,
they gave the entire country an incalculable gift. They saved the
Capital from attack! They saved God knows
how many lives! They saved the terrorists from
claiming the symbolic victory of smashing the center of
American government! And they did it as citizens. They allowed us to survive as a
country that could fight terror and still maintain liberty and
still welcome people from all over the world, from every
religion, and race, and culture, as long as they
shared our values. Because ordinary people, given
no time at all to decide, did the right thing. And 2500 years from now I hope
and pray to God that people will still remember this! (applause) So since I am no
longer in office, I can do unpopular things. (laughter) I told the Secretary
of Interior, the head of your
development program, that I was aghast to find out we
still need to raise $10 million to finish this place and Speaker
Boehner and I have already volunteered to do a bipartisan
event in Washington. So let’s get the
show on the road. And let’s roll! Thanks. And God bless you. (applause) John Reynolds:
President Clinton, thank you. You know, it feels a bit like
the rabbit who wanders into the territory of eagles to speak
after these folks here. (laughter) But the difference is
the eagles are friends. They’re friends of
every one of us here. Thank you, each and
every one of you. My name is John Reynolds. I’m the Chairman of the Federal
Advisory Commission for the Flight 93 National Memorial. My colleagues and associates on
the Commission are interspersed amongst all of us here today. It’s my pleasure to represent an
incredible partnership and its focused constant attention and
action over the last decade. It’s a partnership that is
mostly invisible and unknown except to a few, yet it created
a vision coming to fruition here as a result of its
diversity and commitment. It has created this national
memorial; this national park. In a formal, sense the
partnership consists of five groups: They are the
families of Flight 93, family members of the 40 heroes. The Flight 93 task force
composed of family members, local people from
Shanksville, Somerset County, Pittsburgh and the
Commonwealth and others. They were the original group of
citizens who imagined a national memorial here, worked to
consensus and took action to convince the Congress and
President Bush to act. The Flight 93 Advisory
Commission is the direct link between everyone else and
the Department of Interior and the National Park Service. It is made up of 15 people
representing the local community, the families,
philanthropic, corporate and national interests,
and nationally recognized public historians. The National Park Foundation,
the national fundraising arm of the partnership and the
National Parks Service, the keeper of the nation’s
most important heritage from Yellowstone to the
Statute of Liberty, from Concord and Lexington to
Manassas and Shiloh to here. All for “We the
People” to enjoy, to reflect upon and to
learn about our nation from. These partners, however, barely
reflect the of the people who have given of themselves
to arrive and today. They include the Flight 93 Ambassadors, local people who took it upon themselves
to help visitors starting within days of 9/11. (applause) First responders
and the coroner. The newly formed
friends of Flight 93. All of you please join. Volunteers, contractors,
consultants, public office holders,
government employees, construction workers and
governors, generals, cabinet members,
Senators, Congressmen, Presidents and First
Ladies, plus over 75,000 individuals who have donated
their money to create this memorial and the over 1,000
people and firms who shared their vision and international
design competition. This outpouring has been
and continues to be a truly American undertaking. No one asks, except to be
friendly, who are you? Where are you from? Why are you here? How come you care? All that is asked is sincerity. The result stands
before us today. The people have done this. Paul and Milena Murdoch
architects and Warren Byrd, landscape architect, formally
and beautifully designed what we see here today and it
is what is left to come. Their real genius, though, is
that they joined the chorus of our partnership of people. Listened to it and to the land
and to the sky and played back their souls to create this
representation of thanks, honor and spirit of the 40
heroes of Flight 93 who acted together, fought back, prayed,
gave their lives for us all and our nation. The heroes lie there by
that big solid stone. They stand tall,
mute, and solid, speaking to us forever in
these 40 panels, each named, each equal, yet as evidenced
in the unique veining and each marble slice, individuals
who knowingly chose, voted and then took actions
to avert an even greater American tragedy. They are the courage of
free peoples everywhere. They are our past;
they are our future. This place is the
people’s gift to America. A national park, a national
memorial for as long as this nation shall live. It is my great and humble honor
to present this memorial on behalf of the people of this
wonderful partnership to all of the people of the
United States of America. Will all of you please
follow Mr. Jarvis. Thank you, very much. (applause) ♪♪ (bugles playing “America”) ♪♪ (applause) The Vice President:
Ladies and gentlemen,
my fellow Americans, I am honored to be
standing here today, standing with two former
Presidents: President Clinton, as he said, the passengers on
Flight 93 knew that our common humanity is what united us most. Well, Mr. President, the
same can be said of you. You have spent your time as
President and the years since deeply committed to
embracing and strengthening our common humanity. (applause) And Mr. President, we all thank
you for what you have done and what you continue to do. Let me also recognize the man
responsible for bringing our country together at a time when
it could have been torn apart, for making it clear that America
could not be brought to her knees and helping us stand
tall and strike back, President George W. Bush. (applause) In the darkest hour
of our generation, your voice and leadership,
Mr. President, helped us find our way. And for that you deserve our
gratitude for a long, long time. (applause) And I say now to the families
who gathered here today, I know what it’s like to receive
that call out of the blue. Like a bolt out of the blue. And I know this is a
bittersweet moment for you. And I want to tell you, you have
a lot more courage than I had. You have a lot more courage just
by being here today because I know, many others know, how hard
it is to re-live these moments because it brings everything,
brings everything back in stark, stark relief and
stark, stark detail. But I also know,
like your loved ones, what you probably don’t know:
That you are literally an inspiration for the thousands of
people across this country who right now are feeling the loss
of an intense tragedy that they are suffering. They know, looking at you,
watching you on television today, that there is hope
to be found after tragedy. That there is rebirth
in the face of death. You in a sense are as courageous
as your family members were and we owe you all for
being here today. Just the act of being here. (applause) We’re here today to remember and
honor 40 men and women who gave their lives so others
could live theirs. Decent, honorable women and men
who never imagined ten years ago tomorrow that when they said
goodbye to their children, when they kissed their loved
ones goodbye and walked through that door, that they were doing
it for the very last time. They didn’t know the
horror that awaited them. But they confronted unimaginable
fear and terror with a courage that has been summoned only by
the truest and the rarest of American heroes, forty names
etched on each of those panels on the wall, the Wall of Names. But more than that, their
names are going to be, as President Bush said, etched
forever into American history. They joined an incredibly elite
list of woman and men on a long history filled with ordinary
Americans doing extraordinary things. Men and women of
undaunted courage, uncommon resolve and a stubborn,
stubborn perseverance in the face of unfathomable challenges. You know, we teach our children
that these are qualities that are ingrained into our national
characters as Americans and I believe they are. They animate our
national identity. And I believe they’ll continue
to define America because of the example of the men and women
who we pay tribute today, the passengers and
the crew on Flight 93. None of them, none of them
asked for what happened. They didn’t go on that plane,
they didn’t board that plane to fight a war. But when they heard the news,
when they found out what happened in New York, they knew
that they were going through with something more
than a high jacking. They knew it was the
opening shot in a new war, and so they acted. They acted as citizen patriots
have acted since the beginning of our country. They stood up and they
stood their ground. They thought like Captain Parker
said at Lexington and I quote him, “if they mean to have
a war, let it begin here!” As many times as I recall and
all of you who are not family members, like me, have recalled
this incident time and again over the last ten years. I never fail to be astonished,
literally astonished by the courage they demonstrated. And so we stand where it began. We think of them, we
think of our nation, we think of our history,
and we think of the future. And we think of it because of
them with a confidence knowing that ordinary citizens will
continue to stare down fear, overwhelm evil, and bring forth
hope from what seems to be none. And although it will continue to
amaze us and inspire us when it happens, it should
not surprise us. For that heroism is who we are. And that courage lies deepest
and beats loudest in the heart of this nation. We know that these 40 men and
women were more than ordinary Americans to all of you
sitting in front of me. They were more than
passengers and crews. They were already heroes! They were already heroes to you. They are the father that
tucked you in bed at night; they were the wife who knew your
fears before you could express them; they are the
brother who lifted you up; they were the daughter
who made you laugh; and they were the son
who made you proud. They are irreplaceable. I know that. We know that. And we know and I know that no
memorial, no words, no acts, can fill the void that
they left in your hearts. My prayer for you is that ten
years later their memory is able to bring a smile to your
lip before it brings a tear to your eye. And I hope you take comfort in
knowing that a grateful nation understands that your loved ones
gave their lives in pursuit of the noblest of earthly goals:
Defending their country; defending their families; and
sacrificing their lives so we could live ours! Those of us who were
in Washington that day, without knowing it for sure at
the time now know we owe them an overwhelming special personal
— personal debt of gratitude. To collect the spirit of
your mother, your father, your brother, your husband,
your wife, your sister, your best friend, that spirit
lives on not only in you, but in your country. It lives on in the cross of
steel made from the World Trade Center beams placed in
a pentagon shaped platform that rests proudly outside
the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department. (applause) That cross of steel is an
enduring symbol of the steel and the spine of this region and
the spine of this country and it definitely lives on in a
new generation of warriors, the 9/11 generation. Inspired by what happened here,
2.8 million young Americans since 9/11, that 9/11 generation,
have joined the United States Armed Forces. Thousands giving their lives and
tens of thousands being wounded to finish the war
that began here. Maya Angelou wrote,
and I quote, “History, despite its wrenching pain
cannot be unlived, however, if faced with courage,
need not be lived again.” Ladies and Gentlemen, we are
not here to unlive history, we are here to honor those whose
courage made history and is going to inspire generations
of Americans to come. So I say to you, even as we
struggle with this tragedy, even as we grapple with the
profound loss and devastating grief, we can look up at the
heavens and think of those heroes and know, and know with
certitude that there’s not a single solitary tragedy that
America cannot overcome. There is not a single moment
of hardship that cannot be transformed into one
of national strength. The seeds of doubt planted by
those who wish to harm us will instead grow into flowering
meadows like this one where we stand today, for they
cannot, they cannot defeat the American spirit. We know this with certainty. We know this with certainty
because it’s the history of the journey of this country at
every stage of our history. As President Clinton knows, my
mother used to say courage lies in every heart, and she’d go
on to say and the expectation is that, Joey one day,
it will be summonsed. Courage lies in every heart
and one day it will be summoned. On September 11,
2001 at 9:57 a.m. it was summonsed, and 40
incredible men and woman answered the call. They gave their lives. And in doing so gave
this country a new life. We owe them. We owe you a debt
we can never repay. Thank you all. Thank you family members. And may God bless you and
may God protect our troops. (applause) Sarah McLachlan:
♪♪ (singing: Arms of the Angel) ♪♪ (applause) Jon Jarvis:
I would ask that you all
remain standing for the retirement of the colors,
and the benediction by Father Coughlin. Father Coughlin:
We bless you and we
praise you, Lord God, who unites the
heavens and the earth. We ask your blessing upon this
hallowed place and all those whose memory we call
to mind today by name. Grant them eternal
rest, and we the living, beg you to reward them
for their sacrifice. Grant consolation and confidence
in the future to their families and all who mourn
them, their loss today. Let’s all of us, Lord, who
gather here give us safe travel and may peace (ck) our homes,
our place of destination. And as you transform this
land with new growth, deep in the commitment of those
who wish to finish this work begun, bless their efforts
and bring it to completion. Bless our nation, Lord, and all
the nations of the earth that your people may flourish in
ordinary living of family and business and life of government
and that we might enjoy your presence now and forever. Amen. Jon Jarvis:
As we bring this
ceremony to close, I want to thank each and every
one of you for being here today. For the families and friends
who live with the losses of September 11th, every day, this
memorial is a small expression of your nation’s gratitude. Those who you love
are our heroes. They are with us always,
immortalized in this quiet field. And you have my solemn vow as
the director of the national park service in representing
the men and woman of that organization that we will be
here every day, every year, every future generation to honor
those heroes — your husbands and wives, your
mothers and fathers, your sons and daughters — to
tell their stories to make sure that America and the
world never forgets. I would ask that everyone
remain in their space while our dignitaries step down
the front steps here. And the families, the memorial
wall is yours for the next half hour and yours alone. So thank you all. Thanks for coming. (applause)

 

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