2024 Friends Annual Membership MeetingFEB 3, 2024
Remake Learning DaysMay 17 & 18, 2024
CONNECTIONS (Virtual)November 9, 2023
CONNECTIONSOctober 12, 2023
PINTS FOR PARKSSeptember 23, 2023
National Day of LearningSeptember 11, 2023
SEPTEMBER 11 OBSERVANCESEPTEMBER 11
2023 HEROES' WALKSeptember 9, 2023
Friends Under the StarsAugust 11, 2023
Flag Flying at Flight 93All Year Long
PLANT A TREE AT FLIGHT 932022
National Park ServiceVolunteer Info
2024 Friends Annual Membership Meeting
FEB 3, 2024 (Virtual Only)*
Friends Annual Membership Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, February 3, 2024.
This year's meeting will be conducted virtually, commencing at 11:00 AM ET. If you wish to attend, please register below.
Pollinator Party at Flight 93!
MAY 17 & 18, 2024
Friends, National Park Service and IU8 Team Up for Remake Learning Days | Join Friends and Flight 93 National Memorial Rangers for a unique two-day event on May 17 and 18. This exciting initiative aims to promote learning and family bonding. The living memorial will serve as the focal point of the event, where children and parents can participate in various activities. Friends will offer the chance to make wildflower cookies from clay, while Rangers will host a discovery table to showcase the trees that comprise this living memorial. Don't miss this great opportunity to learn and have fun!
Kindly RSVP if you plan to attend the Pollinator Party.
Wonder, explore and learn together at Flight 93! #WhenYouWonder
Creating a Living Memorial
Before United 93 crashed at this site on September 11, 2001, the land was a former surface mine. Once scarred by strip mining, the land was scarred once again by the crash of United 93 and the fire resulting from jet fuel's explosion.
When Paul Murdoch, the chosen architect hired to create a living memorial, visited this site, his vision was to heal the landscape from its previous damage and to create a living memorial to honor and remember the 40 passengers and crew members aboard United 93 for generations to come.
Pollinators have played a role in the healing of this sacred site. Pollinators help ensure that the natural habitat and ecosystem of the memorial are environmentally restored. Over the last decade, volunteers have planted over 150,000 trees at Flight 93. Along with tree planting, our natural resource team also spreads native wildflower seeds around the planting sites.
These trees and wildflowers have attracted native wildlife that now calls Flight 93 home. Over the years, researchers have discovered that the success of the trees and wildflowers planted have attracted over 63 native bee species and 141 native bird species. In addition, the actions taken to plant trees and wildflowers have helped to environmentally restore this once scarred site and have created a living memorial.
- To review the Pollinator Party press release, view here.
- To read an article from The Daily American, view here.
Featuring Post 9/11 Veterans
Recognizing Our Veterans: A Special Thank You from the Friends Executive Director |On November 9, 2023, the Friends Executive Director took the time to express her gratitude to all veterans. During the online virtual speaker forum, Gibson spoke with a panel of post 9/11 veterans. The discussion focused on their experiences on 9/11 and how they use the Flight 93 story to connect with the next generation. The esteemed panelists for this special Veteran's Day forum were representatives from the Sinise Foundation and the 9:57 Project. Both organizations have collaborated with Friends on various educational initiatives.
Post 9/11 Veterans
Award winning author of “There and Back Again”, stories from a combat corpsman, Ambassador at Gary Sinise Foundation, Field Medic at TERRA search Promise and Founder, President, and CEO of the Doc Jacobs Foundation. Doc served more than eight years with six and a half as a combat-wounded corpsman. During his tour of duty with 3rd Battalion 7th Marines, India Company in Ramadi Iraq his gun truck was hit by an IED (improvised explosive device). This attack resulted in the loss of his left leg below the knee, three toes from his right foot, and part of three fingers on his left hand. Doc earned a Bronze Star with Valor, a Purple Heart, Navy/Marine Corps achievement medal for saving 59 coalition forces’ lives after 2 suicide bombers hit an Iraqi Army recruiting line and a Combat Action Ribbon.
A retired U. S Army Chief Warrant Office 4 and co-founder of The 9:57 Project, a non-profit committed to perpetuating the legacy of 9/11 by engaging students and veterans in conversations about courage, resilience, service and teamwork. John is a 24-year US Army veteran, twenty-two of those years on active duty. On 9/11/2001, John was an AH-64 Apache pilot in the 101st Airborne Division. Months later he was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the first conventional aviation task force in the War on Terrorism. During his 24 years of service, John participated in multiple overseas deployments; he is the recipient of the Legion of Merit, 3 Meritorious Service Medals, 3 Air Medals, one with Combat V device, the Master Army Aviation Badge and other awards. John also has extensive civilian aviation experience and is currently an airline pilot with a major airline.
A veteran with combined 101/2 years of active-duty service and 20 years Federal Service with the Army National Guard. Rudy was deployed many times in support of combat, humanitarian, and counter-drug operations to locations such as Afghanistan, Central and South America, and US-Mexico Southwest Border. During combat operations in Afghanistan, he served as Executive Officer, Task Force O.D.I.N. (Observe, Detect, Identify and Neutralize) and once as Commander, Task Force C.E.A.S.A.R. (Communications Electronic Attack with Surveillance and Reconnaissance). Rudy now serves as an Air Interdiction Agent with CBP’s Air and Marine operations where he is an instructor pilot in the Pilatus PC-12, Pilot in command of the AS350 aircraft and field coordinator for the CBP’s Veteran Support Program. He is the recipient of the Meritorious Unit Commendation, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Senior Army Aviator Badge, and many other recognitions. He is currently serving as Major in the New Mexico National Guard.
Lieutenant Colonel Kate Clarke, award winning author of “The Heart of a Soldier” a true love story of love, war, and sacrifice, sought after national speaker. She has served in various capacities including Active Duty in the Missouri National Guard and now serving as a Protection officer in Washington D.C. at the HQ, Corps of Engineers, US Army Reserves. Her overseas assignments include the Republic of Korea, the initial invasion force into Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division and an assignment for Operation Enduring Freedom in Qatar. LTC Clarke has had the privilege to assist in a wide variety of homeland emergency missions ranging from Hurricane Katrina relief to civil disturbance. Additionally, Kate led a state partnership program between Missouri and the Republic of Panama and Missouri and Israel for the Missouri National Guard. LTC Clarke has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Amy Commendation Medal (4th award), Army Achievement Medal (2nd award), Amy Reserve Component Achievement Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Korean Defense Medal, Globe War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service medal (Hurricane Katrina Relief), Army Service Ribbon, Army Overseas Service Ribbon, Missouri State Emergency Duty Ribbon, Air Assault Badge, Inductee, Daughters of the American Revolution, Austin Peay State University Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society Hall of Fame Inductee 2007.
Featuring Jack Grandcolas
Insightful Discussion with Jack Grandcolas, Flight 93 Family Member and Author | On the 12th of October at 7:00 PM ET, our Executive Director Donna Gibson had the pleasure of speaking with Jack Grandcolas, a member of the Flight 93 family and author of "Like a River to the Sea". During the interview, Jack shared his thoughts on the book, which explores Heartbreak and Hope in the Wake of United 93.
The book is dedicated to his unborn child and outlines the story of Jack and his wife Lauren, who had just received the news of their pregnancy when she passed away in the 9/11 attacks. Jack's therapist suggested he write the book to honor Lauren and share their story with others who have suffered a traumatic loss.
2023 PINTS FOR PARKS
Forbes Trail Brewing Event 'Pints for Parks' Benefiting Friends & Flight 93 National Memorial
A big thank you to everyone who joined us at Forbes Trail Brewing on Saturday, September 23, to drink some ‘Giving Back’ Pale Ale and support Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial. The event was in support of the Memorial Groves at Flight 93 National Memorial, which consists of 40 groves of 40 trees that serve as a living tribute to the passengers and crew members who were on Flight 93.
Executive Director Donna Gibson expressed the need for help in preserving the Memorial Groves and its cultural resources, which have been weakened over time by harsh winter weather, high winds, tough soil, and wildlife. All proceeds raised from the sales of the special brew, Pints for Parks merchandise, and donations will go towards supporting, maintaining, and caring for the groves and surrounding landscape.
During the event, Ms. Gibson drew tickets for door prizes, including a book, "Like a River to the Sea" written by author and family member, Jack Grandcolas. Friends hosted a Friends Connections, new speaker forum (rebranding of the Speaker Series) with Jack Grandcolas on October 12, 2023, at 7:00 PM ET.
Special thanks to Forbes Trail Brewing for partnering with us to host the event, and to musicians Lucas Waggle and The Feels for providing live entertainment.
2023 National Day of Learning
September 11, 2023
The National Park Service and Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial hosted a virtual event via Zoom, called "Teach to Remember". The pre-recorded sessions and modules were available until December 2023. Check out Teach to Remember - Flight 93 National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov) to learn more about the virtual program and access additional resources.
2023 NDL SPONSORS
Acknowledging Our Sponsors for Supporting the Launch of Our National Day of Learning - Teach to Remember 9/11
We would like to express our gratitude to our sponsors for assisting us with the launch of our National Day of Learning - Teach to Remember 9/11. Thank you for your support!
FRANK QUATTRONE & DENISE FODERARO
FRED & SANDRA LUKACHINSKY
PATRIOT PARK FOUNDATION
THE GARY SINISE FOUNDATION
FRIENDS OF FLIGHT 93 PARTNERS WITH NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FOR A NATIONAL DAY OF LEARNING
Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, the official non-profit partner to the National Park Service at Flight 93 National Memorial announces their commitment to educatingcurrent and future generations about the events of September 11, 2001. “We believe we have a responsibility to teach the story of the heroic actions of the passenger and crew of Flight 93, as well as the greater context of the events of the day” said Fred Lukachinsky, Friends Board President.
This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on America. Since that time, over seventy-five million Americans have been born with no living memory of that day in history. Sadly, only 14 US states require 9/11 classroom curriculum or a moment of silence in honor of the lives lost. Friends and National Park Service staff are pro-actively engaging this new generation.
We have learned from educators, teaching the events of 9/11 can be challenging. Teachers either have no living memory of the day or find it difficult and overwhelming to find reliable resources for curriculum development. To help educators overcome these challenges, Friends are working in partnership with the National Park Service to create a National Day of Learning entitled, “Teach to Remember.”
“This is a project Friends are honored to sponsor. The National Park Service education team will be offering a full day of programming focused on students in grades 6-12. Curriculum will range from the greater context of the three attack sites, to the specifics events that occurred in Shanksville, Pa. The Moment of Remembrance will be live streamed from the Memorial, as well as live interaction with interpretive rangers” said Donna Gibson Executive Director, Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial.
The Teach to Remember curriculum will also feature an opportunity for students across the nation to share their writing in response to prompts about Flight 93 and 9/11. Friends and National Park Service in collaboration with the National Writing Project will challenge students to publish from their perspective in response to the National Day of Learning. This “Write to Remember” activity is intended for schools, libraries, and home schools to share how Flight 93 story continues to inspire people.
“Friends and Park officials developed the National Day of Learning to connect with the next generation in a meaningful way,” says Gibson. Each year through an education scholarship, we partner with the National Park Service to offer ranger guided on-site educational programming for grades 4-12. In 2022, we jointly hosted over 10,000 students from all over Pennsylvania. In 2023, we want to expand beyond Pennsylvania and offer global programming.
The National Day of Learning - Teach to Remember will be hosted by Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial through Zoom. Additional information about registration will be added to Friends of Flight 93 website and resources for teachers will be added to the National Park Service website over the next several weeks/months.
- Memorial Announces ‘Teach to Remember’; Virtual Day of Learning for September 11 | The National Park Service and the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial announce, ‘Teach to Remember,’ a virtual education program, as part of the evolving 9/11 ceremony at Flight 93 National Memorial.
September 11 Observance
September 11, 2023
22nd Annual September 11 Observance: Information for Visitors
The Memorial Plaza hosted the 22nd Annual September 11 Observance, which was open to the public and began at 9:50 a.m. on Monday, September 11. It's advisable to arrive early to the site and allow sufficient time for parking and walking. Park gates opened at 07:00 a.m. All visitors on the morning of September 11 parked in assigned lots and walked to and from the site. Accessible buses were available to accommodate wheelchairs.
Honoring the Victims of 9/11: A Recap of the Day's Events
On Monday, September 11th, the Moment of Remembrance began at 9:50 a.m. EDT at the Memorial Plaza. The National Park Service warmly invited the public to a thirty-minute name reading, starting at 9:50 a.m. ET, to pay tribute to the passengers and crew members. With the ringing of the Bells of Remembrance, each name was read aloud.
A public wreath-laying ceremony was held at 2 p.m. near the Wall of Names on the Memorial Plaza. The event took place outside, so attendees walked on mown grass and uneven ground. The ceremony was held rain or shine, but in case of severe weather, certain parts of the program were subject to change.
The Visitor Center opened at 9:00 a.m. and closed at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 11th. All programming was free and open to the public.
- For the latest updates on the September 11 Observance, visit September 11 Observance - Flight 93 National Memorial (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).
- To view photographs of the 21st Obeservance, visit Photo Gallery (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).
Press Release | 2022
Ceremony | Streamed Live on September 11, 2022
Ranger Walter took part in a wreath-laying ceremony alongside notable dignitaries and the family members of the departed. (Image credit: NPS/Brenda Torrey)
2023 HEROES' WALK
Saturday, September 9, 2023
Introducing the Newly Enhanced Western Overlook at Flight 93 National Memorial | This year's participants were given the exclusive opportunity to witness the upgraded Western Overlook as a "First View." Following the walk, a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony was hosted by Friends to honor the completion of the project.
Thanks to the hard work of families, donors, sponsors, and the Flight 93 National Memorial maintenance team, this project was made possible. The Army National Guard from the 333 Battalion in Reading, PA also played a vital role by offering their engineering and construction services. The various fundraising efforts throughout the year of 2022 contributed tremendously to the project's success. We are incredibly grateful for everyone's dedication and support.
Exploring the Western Overlook: A Unique Interpretive Program | In September 2001, the Western Overlook played a vital role as a point of first contact between families and the crash site. It also served as a site for first responders to aid family members and for the investigation of Flight 93. Today, park rangers have developed a new interpretive program called "13 Days in September" which consists of a walking tour designed to explore the historical significance of this site.
Representatives from Families, National Park Service and Friends cut the ribbon and spoke during the dedication, while walk participants were the "First View" of the enhanced space. Pennsylvania Mountain Service Corps AmeriCorps volunteers provided flowers to walkers to leave behind in honor and memory of the 40 passenger and crew members.
Preserving Memorial Groves
The Memorial Groves at Flight 93 National Memorial pay tribute to the 40 passengers and crew members who were on Flight 93. The 2023 Heroes' Walk was a successful event that promoted awareness about this poignant memorial. The groves, which consist of 40 trees each, can be viewed from the Allée Walk, a path that extends from the Visitor Center Complex and Memorial Plaza. Visitors can take a moment to reflect on the dignity and serenity of these forty groves.
The preservation of cultural resources and groves is essential, and we need your assistance to maintain and care for them. By participating in the walk, you're helping to support the Memorial Groves. Although registration has ended, you can still help by donating to our Environmental Projects fund.
Visit www.flight93friends.org/donate to make a donation.
2023 HEROES' WALK SPONSORS!
First Flight Foundation
The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services
Friends Under the Stars at Flight 93
FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2023
Friends Under the Stars: A Dark Sky Program at Flight 93 National Memorial | On August 11, 2023, Friends of Flight 93 and the National Park Service collaborated to host a unique Dark Sky Program. The event included Astronomy clubs from Cumberland and Hollidaysburg, and was held at Flight 93 National Memorial.
The highlight of the night was the spectacular viewing of the night sky, featuring one of the best meteor showers of the year with peak activity this month. This made for the perfect end to the summer for sky gazing. The participants were treated to the sight of Saturn and the Perseids, a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle that was predicted to put on a good show.
Flag Flying at Flight 93
ALL YEAR ROUND!
Plan Ahead with Friends and Family to Fly Flags at Flight 93 National Memorial!
During the warmer months, consider gathering your loved ones to fly flags at the Flight 93 National Memorial. The Friends are available on weekends and summer evenings, so don't hesitate to contact us via email at [email protected] with your preferred month, date, and time.
Alternatively, you can call us at (814) 893-6552 to coordinate your visit.
Every year, at Flight 93 National Memorial, 500 United States Flags are flown at the memorial by local volunteers, Friends members, #NationalParkService ambassadors, service groups and #scoutgroups. The flags have flown to respect and honor the passengers and crew of #Flight93. The flags have flown to also honor all those who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks.
After each flag has flown, the flags are issued a Certificate of Authenticity by the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial and signed by the Superintendent of Flight 93 National Memorial and the Executive Director of the Friends of Flight 93.
The United States flags then can be purchased at Flight 93 Visitor Center Book Store. The sales of these flags go towards special projects and programs at Flight 93 #NationalMemorial.
Plant a Tree at Flight 93
2022 | 150,000 TREES PLANTED!
What is Plant a Tree?
For over a decade, the National Park Service, Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, and National Park Foundation have partnered to continue a major reforestation project. With the completion of the 2022 plantings, the milestone goal of planting 150,000 trees at Flight 93 National Memorial has been achieved.
This conservation project is part of the memorial’s original design and is meant to reclaim the former surface mine with native trees to re-establish wildlife habitats, create essential windbreaks and establish the healing of the memorial landscape.
Planting a National Memorial
The reforestation project has been a collaborative partnership that originated with the Friends of Flight 93, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation and is shared by state and federal government agencies as well as private and academic organizations. More than 4,200 volunteers contributed over 17,000 volunteer hours over 10 years and made this project a success.
Since the beginning of the plantings in 2012, 197 acres have been reforested. Now that many of the initial plantings have matured, they are 8 Feet tall and have formed essential windbreaks. Much of what is now the memorial is a former surface coal mine and this effort has also re-established woodland wildlife habitats and cultivated a living memorial.
The planting of 41 varieties of native trees and shrubs has attracted 63 native bee species and 141 native bird species. The intermixing of pollinators has helped to create the perfect environment for birds and bees alike. Visitors coming to the memorial to pay tribute to the 40 passengers and crew members can see wildlife such as deer, geese, various native birds, bees, butterflies, and this year we had a swan join our habitat.
This reforestation project has been truly fortunate to have partners such as Green Forests Work, The American Chestnut Foundation, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Universities of Kentucky, and Indiana University of PA and more!
For a full list of reforestation partners and sponsors from 2012-2022, visit https://www.flight93friends.org/events/reforestationpartners.
Additional Reforestation Information
Plant a Tree 2022 Press Release
Please visit nps.gov/flni to watch a unique Plant a Tree at Flight 93 National Memorial welcome message and a safety orientation.
Our Core Reforestation Partners
For a full list of our reforestation partners (2012-2022), please visit flight93friends.org/events/reforestationpartners.
Friends have teamed up with the National Park Service to provide volunteer support for a variety of annual programs and events held at Flight 93 National Memorial. Join us and learn more about these events, which range from Friends-only (*indicated by asterisks) to open to the public. Get involved and become a part of our community.
PLANT A TREE AT FLIGHT 93 – 150,000 Trees Planted!
Reforestation on a Reclaimed Strip Mine: A Collaborative Partnership | For over ten years, the Friends of Flight 93, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, along with state and federal government agencies, private and academic organizations, have worked together on a reforestation project. The goal is to heal the landscape and create new wildlife habitats on this former surface coal mine. Thanks to the efforts of over 4,200 volunteers, who contributed more than 17,000 hours, the project has been a resounding success.
In the spring, the Friends welcome around 500 volunteers to plant trees alongside trained foresters. To date, this effort has led to the reforestation of 197 acres. Many of the initial plantings have now matured to eight feet tall and provide essential windbreaks. The project has also helped re-establish woodland wildlife habitats and cultivate a living memorial.
INVASIVE SPECIES REMOVAL - TBD
Combatting Invasive Species at Flight 93 National Memorial | Volunteers have come together to plant native trees at Flight 93 National Memorial. However, the Friends organization is in search of a skilled and experienced "special forces" team to tackle a major obstacle – invasive species. Species such as autumn olive, bull and Canada thistle, and spotted knapweed pose a significant threat to the native flora and the tree seedlings that have been planted on site. The team's primary responsibility is to remove these invasive species, allowing the native plantings to flourish and create a stunning Memorial landscape.
*LUMINARIA | Lanterns Washing – 2026
Annual Luminaria to Honor the Passengers and Crew of Flight 93 | On September 10, an event to honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93 will take place, where forty luminaria candle lanterns will be lit and placed below the names of those who were lost on September 11, 2001. Family members, National Park Service staff, distinguished guests, and friends will attend and pay their respects. This annual event occurs every five years, with the next one being held in 2021 during the Twentieth Observance. All are welcome to attend this solemn and peaceful occasion.
SEPTEMBER 11 OBSERVANCE – SEPTEMBER 11, 2023
Annual September 11th Commemorative Service: Honor and Remembrance | Every year on September 11th, the community gathers for an open-air commemorative service to pay tribute to the passengers and crew members of Flight 93. At 10:03 a.m., the time of the plane's crash on September 11, 2001, there is a moment of silence followed by the reading of the names of those lost. The Bells of Remembrance are rung, and brief addresses are made. The event is open to the public and friends provide support to the National Park Service by assisting with registration, seating guests, and hosting a private family reception before and after the ceremony.
Heroes' Walk - 2024
Join the Public Walk to Support Flight 93 National Memorial | On September 11, 2001, the passengers and crew of Flight 93 prevented an attack on our nation's capital, and the Flight 93 National Memorial was created in their honor. To promote awareness of this site, a public walk is being held. Take a 2.28-mile walk down the Allée, Wetlands Bridge, and Western Overlook Trail to explore the memorial's trail network and learn more about this 21st-century historic event. This walk allows you to connect with the new National Park and enjoy the natural beauty of the Laurel Highlands. All proceeds from the walk will directly aid in the completion of the original memorial design and environmental projects at Flight 93 National Memorial.
*ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING – FEB 3, 2024
Virtual Membership Meetings by Friends | Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial holds virtual membership meetings to showcase new board members, upcoming special events, and provide updates on annual programs, projects and accomplishments. This meeting is a chance to review the Annual Report, reflect on the past year, and prepare as we approach the 23rd Observance of September 11, 2001 in 2024.
View 2023 Friends Annual Membership Meeting now.
*Flag Flying - All Year Round
Honoring the Memory of Flight 93: United States Flags at the National Memorial | At the Flight 93 National Memorial, 500 United States flags are flown annually to pay tribute to the passengers and crew of Flight 93, as well as all those who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks. Volunteers, service groups, scout groups, National Park Service ambassadors, and Friends members all help to make this display possible.
Once the flags are taken down, they are given a Certificate of Authenticity by the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, signed by the Superintendent of Flight 93 National Memorial and the Executive Director of the Friends of Flight 93. These authentic flags can then be purchased at the Flight 93 Visitor Center Book Store, with proceeds going towards special projects and programs at the Flight 93 National Memorial.
National Park Service Volunteer Opportunities
The National Park Service is looking for volunteers across multiple areas of service at Flight 93 National Memorial. Click on the link below to discover the various opportunities for volunteering at the site.
NPS Photo/ 2021
NPS Photo/ 2021
NPS Photo/ 2021