Nearly 11 years after it was created, the Flight 93 Advisory Commission is disbanding.
The commission formed to help develop a national memorial at the site of where a hijacked plane crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania during the 9/11 attacks.
“They’ve complete their work, and so this is their last meeting,” said Jeff Reinbold, National Park Service superintendent at the memorial. “It really is a success story. It’s family members and local residents and experts from around the country coming together for this 15-person commission and bringing their time and their talents.”
The group was commissioned by Congress and signed into law in 2002, and members were appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. The advisory commission helped plan and design the National Park Service memorial at the site, about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, killing all 40 passengers and crew.
The construction of the memorial has been an ongoing process, and this year ground will be broken on the new educational building and visitor’s center, which is among the final phases. Though the Flight 93 Advisory Commission’s work is finished, the work they did will continue to benefit the site.
“They’ve created a wonderful legacy of public involvement and people coming together to create this memorial,” Reinbold said. “The other exciting piece of this is they are also creating the Friends of Flight 93, which is a new nonprofit partner that will work with the National Park Service to operate the memorial.”
The group has met four times a year since being sworn in. Its last meeting will be Sept. 10, the day before the 12th anniversary of the attacks.
“On Sept. 11 we will have the annual memorial service, and it is open to the public,” Reinbold said.
Last year nearly 320,000 people visited the park, and a similar or larger turnout is expected this year. As time passes, Reinbold said the need for the memorial will be greater.
“In that group (of visitors) we’ve really noticed now are middle schoolers and people who don’t have a direct remembrance of Sept. 11, or for many of us who lived through it our memories are getting a little foggy,” he said. “So it’s a great time now for this visitor’s center, this education complex to come online because there’s a real need there.”