For Monday, I had been thinking about riding thru the rural areas in Virginia & West Virginia, but, as I was riding north-west toward I-81, a different destination came to mind: the Flight 93 National Memorial. The memorial is one of those things that is so close that I never stop, thinking I could visit anytime and should go somewhere more remote. Since this year has ended up as many small trips, it was the perfect opportunity.
The ride to the memorial, along Route 30, winds thru beautiful, rural Pennsylvania. As you enter the memorial on the access road, there is only one stop, over looking the nearby small town of Lambert. The memorial is still under construction; currently only the visitor shelter, the memorial walk and the wall of names, on the border of the crash site, are open.
Many of the additional structures, including a visitor center and the path around the crash site, are expect to be completed in 2015. For now, you can approach the wall of names and look thru to the crash site, but not enter it.
Walking along the path, everyone speaks in hushed tones, feeling the weight of the events. Along the wall are nooks containing a few items of remembrance. I’m not sure if these items are left by visitors or donations placed there by the park staff, but they are sparsely populated and arranged with care.
Walking the path, pausing the at the nooks and reading the names along the wall provides a feeling of connection to the ordinary people who became heroes on that tragic day. See all photos.
The memorial was moving and emotional, an appropriate lead up to visiting the 9/11 Memorial on Tuesday. Riding home on Route 30 provided a mix of rural, highway and small town riding. Just the day before I had ridden Route 30, from Philadelphia to I-81, so, when the opportunity occurred, I jumped back on the turnpike to make better time.