More than 5,000 people waited in hours of traffic and braved muddy fields to see the dedication of the Flight 93 National Memorial yesterday. They watched as former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and Vice President Joe Biden honored the 40 passengers and crew who died on Flight 93 on September eleventh, 2001.
"What happened above this Pennsylvania field ranks among the most courageous acts in American history," said George W. Bush. Mr. Bush went on to call the actions of the men and women who stormed the cockpit of Flight 93 the "first counter-offensive of the war on terror." "What happened above this Pennsylvania field ranks among the most courageous acts in American history. The memorial we dedicate today will ensure that the nation always honors those lost here on nine-eleven," said Mr. Bush.
Former President Bill Clinton said, "They saved the capitol 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." Mr. Clinton vowed his support to the efforts to rise $10 million to finish the last two phases of the memorial. He said he would hold a fundraiser in Washington D.C.
Vice President Joe Biden also took to the stage to make remarks. He said the passengers on flight 93 had heard the news of the planes slamming into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. "[W]hen 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 hijacking. They knew that it was the opening shot in a new war. And so they acted," said Mr. Biden.
Just before they spoke, the names of Flight 93's 40 passengers and crew were read aloud. A bell tolled after each name. A commemorative service for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is planned for Sunday.