1. Who are the Flight 93 families?
The Flight 93 families are relatives of the 40 heroic passengers and crew members of United Airlines Flight 93 who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, while fighting terrorists for control of the plane, and thereby diverting it from its intended target of The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The plane crashed instead into the fields of Somerset County, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Through their collective actions, the Flight 93 heroes saved countless lives on the ground in our nation’s capital and saved one of our country’s greatest symbols of democracy.
The “Families of Flight 93” is a private, nonprofit charitable organization created in December, 2002, whose board members are from the Flight 93 families. The Families of Flight 93 works in partnership with the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, the Flight 93 Federal Advisory Commission, and the Friends of the Flight 93 National Memorial with the mission to work collaboratively toward the creation of the Congressionally mandated Flight 93 National Memorial.
2. What is the mission of the Families of Flight 93?
The mission of the Families of Flight 93 is to assist in the construction of, and help sustain, the Flight 93 National Memorial, dedicated to their lost loved ones on Flight 93, and to help educate future generations about the 40 heroes’ actions on September 11, 2001.
3. How did the Families of Flight 93 get started?
A meeting attended by the Flight 93 relatives in February, 2002, is where the issue of creating a Flight 93 families’ organization was first raised. Many at the meeting believed that organizing was the only way the Flight 93 families would have a strong voice in discussions with federal and state government, the local community, and United Airlines, on the future of the Flight 93 crash site where their loved ones lost their lives and which will forever be their final resting place.
From that meeting, an interim Flight 93 families’ board was formed with three members: Larry Catuzzi, father of Flight 93 passenger Lauren Grandcolas; Jennifer Price, daughter of passenger Jean Hoadley Peterson and step-daughter of passenger Donald Peterson; and Elizabeth Kemmerer, daughter of passenger Hilda Marcin.
Throughout 2002, the interim board and other Flight 93 relatives worked tirelessly along with members of Congress, the National Park Service, local community leaders, and others to have a federal law enacted that would authorize the creation of the Flight 93 National Memorial. That goal was reached when President Bush signed the Flight 93 National Memorial Act (P.L. 107-226) into law on September 24, 2002.
Even before the creation of the memorial was authorized, private citizens and business were contacting Flight 93 families and government officials asking how they could help fund a significant memorial at the site of the Flight 93 crash.
In December, 2002, with the planning process of the memorial accelerating, the “Families of Flight 93″ was formally incorporated in Pennsylvania as a nonprofit entity, which was soon approved as an I.R.C. Sec. 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
The Families of Flight 93 – then as now – plays a lead role in the creation and completion of the Flight 93 National Memorial. In fulfilling its mission, the Families of Flight 93 is a leader in the efforts to raise private funds needed to complete the memorial and its nonprofit status allows it to receive donations to build the memorial.
4. What is the Flight 93 National Memorial?
On September 24, 2002, President George W. Bush signed the Flight 93 National Memorial Act (the “Act”). Originally initiated by U. S. Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the Act created a new national park unit to commemorate the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 who courageously gave their lives thereby thwarting a planned attack on our Nation’s capital on September 11, 2001. The memorial – the only unit of the National Park Service system devoted to the events of September 11th – is located in Stonycreek Township, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed.
The boundary of the memorial includes 2,200 acres of dedicated parklands and viewsheds. A key component of the memorial’s design is a major reforestation of the site – which was once a reclaimed strip mine – including the planting of more than 140,000 trees.
To date more than 675 oral histories have been collected from Flight 93 families, first responders, community residents, and others. These will be incorporated into the interpretive exhibits at the site as part of the memorial’s planned visitor or learning center.
Visitors to the temporary memorial at the site have left more than 40,000 tribute items since 2001. These tributes have been collected, catalogued, and stored by the National Park Service. More than one million visitors have traveled to the site since 2001. When the memorial is completed, more than 230,000 visitors are expected each year.
5. Who else is assisting the Families of Flight 93 in ensuring that the Flight 93 National Memorial is completed?
The Families of Flight 93 is working with other Flight 93 National Memorial partners to ensure that the Flight 93 National Memorial is fully funded and built. The partners include:
- The U.S. National Park Service, which manages all aspects of the planning, design, and construction of the memorial, manages the operations of the temporary memorial, and will administer the Flight 93 National Memorial as a unit of the National Park System;
- The National Park Foundation, which leads the Flight 93 National Memorial Capital Campaign in coordination with the Families of Flight 93 and the Flight 93 National Memorial partners. The Foundation is the national charitable partner of America’s national parks chartered by the U.S. Congress;
- The Friends of the Flight 93 National Memorial, a grassroots, nonprofit organization whose members include local residents, Flight 93 family members, and others interested parties from around the country. The Friends’ group supports the mission of the Flight 93 National Memorial with volunteers, resources, and civic engagement; and
- The Flight 93 Federal Advisory Commission, which is a 15-member body responsible for providing recommendations to the Department of Interior and the National Park Service on the planning, construction, and long-term management of the Flight 93 National Memorial. The U.S. Congress authorized the establishment of the Commission, which includes the National Park Service Director or his designee, as part of the Act creating the memorial.
6. What is the current status of the Flight 93 National Memorial?
The first phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial is under construction, the majority of which will be dedicated on September 10, 2011, with Vice President Joseph Biden attending. When fully funded, completion of the first phase is expected by 2014. Two smaller phases are planned in the coming years to complete the approved memorial design. For more details on the design and phases of the Flight 93 National Memorial go to www.nps.gov/flni/parkmgmt/memorialdesign.htm
7. Is the government helping to fund the creation of the memorial?
Yes. The land acquisition and building of the Flight 93 National Memorial is a public-private partnership. The total cost of the first phase is approximately $62 million. Approximately half of this amount will be raised from private contributions, with the balance of funding coming from the federal government and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Private donations are vital to completing this phase and future phases of the memorial.
8. Why should I give?
After September 11th, America made a promise to build a substantial and lasting memorial to the heroes of Flight 93. The Flight 93 National Memorial needs private contributions to complete the first phase of the memorial and its future phases. It is the only September 11th memorial that remains to be fully funded. The present goal is to raise $15 million to fund construction of the remaining design features, create educational programming opportunities, and promote environmental stewardship of the reclaimed mine where the Flight 93 National Memorial is located. Of that goal, approximately $10 million in private donations is needed to complete the Phase 1 of the memorial. Tens of thousands of donors from around the world have already contributed, but thousands more people just like you must step up and join with us if we are going to complete the memorial.
9. How can I help?
By donating to the Flight 93 National Memorial right now, you can help keep the promise America made to honor the 40 heroes of United Flight 93. To make a donation by credit card or through a PayPal account, please go to www.familiesofflight93.org/donate .
10. I can’t afford much. What else can I do to raise funds to complete the memorial?
Any amount, however small, will help by working together like the 40 heroes did. You can also spread the word to family and friends about the need to raise funds to complete the memorial, or even organize fundraising efforts in your community. If you use eBay to buy or sell online, you can participate in eBay Giving, where you can browse listings that support the Families of Flight 93, donate a percentage of your sale to the Families of Flight 93, or make an immediate donation to the Families of Flight 93 during checkout of a purchase you make on eBay. For more information on different ways you can help build the memorial, please go to www.familiesofflight93.org/fundraising .