Thursday, October 13, 2011

[Flight 93 ~ Remembering 9-11 in Shanksville, PA]

I feel like I'm getting to this late. late for what? I don't know. not that it matters really. except that I had wanted to write when my heart was full and it was all fresh on my mind.

But then, that's me. I don't like it. but I am too often... late.

Late for church.
Late library books.
Late getting supper on the table.
Late going to bed.

I'm usually on time for appts. but in a just-at-the-last-second-kind-of on time.

I have a SIL that understands. She's already asked her family to promise to wheel her coffin in after her funeral service has already started. yep. seriously. She wants to be late for her own funeral.

That cracks me up and then the laugh gets stuck in my throat and I want to say don't even talk like that. I can't bear the thought. My SIL is a great gal. I love her sense of humor too. She's funny she is.

But the reality of all of the goodbyes that are a part of living on this planet... are not.

so i'm late. distractable. often end up on rabbit trails. and i like to make statements about the obvious.

We were in Shanksville, PA on September 10 and 11th to attend the memorial dedication and  commemorative anniversary service. It was our third visit to the place where Flight 93 went down. and everytime. each and everytime. it has had me pulling out the cliches in an effort to explain what I can't.
you really have to be there.

there are no words.

If you have an opportunity to visit. go.
If you don't. create one. and still go.

When I find myself thinking that there aren't any words,
it's because the few that come to mind are so inadequate.
The tears always come. spilling. quietly.
And not in a you-can-hold-them-back-by-blinking-alot way.
But in a they are just. there. kinda way. 

As if they are to offer evidence.
tangible. flowing. evidence. of His undeniable presence.

when your lips can form no words for your soul...
there is still a language.
it not only He does.
to those places that you didn't even know you had places
until His fingerprints of tears reveal the depth of emotion
with the bright hope of healing.


We tried to arrive very early *notice? early!* that first day. did everyone else.

Not only did the crowd far exceed the expectations of those organizing the event, the excessive rains had left grassy parking areas too soggy for driving. Some vehicles needed towed to get out of the mud. We drove in stop and go traffic, mostly stop, traveling just 2 miles in 2 hours.

So finally we just parked along the road and walked the remaining distance of about a mile and a half. Which is no big deal when you are planning on that. But kinda is when you're not, and it includes carrying chairs. Later we found that some people had walked over 3 miles to get in.

It was worth it.


this is what little boys do at memorial dedications and services...they make "roads" with their shoes and draw boat pictures. besides needing to go to the bathroom alot. alot. alot. and see the legs right at jacob's eye level? they were doodled on with his pen too. 046140

this is what big brothers do...hold little brothers so that they can see.
and what dads do...hug their little girls.

this is what little boys get from secret service agents...lapel pins that say United States Secret Service Uniformed Division, Special Operations Officer. well. at least my little boy did.
and this is what bubblegum machine cameras focus on...whatever they want to.

this is what former pa governor tom ridge does everytime time we cross paths...okay, everytime as in just twice. snicker. but still. he treats each person like an individual. never hurried. always communicating a specific interest.
*dang. he sounds like the text in the mother's day card that i always wished i'd deserve.*  


"The memorial we dedicate today will ensure our nation always remembers those lost here on 9/11. But we have a duty beyond memory. We have a duty beyond honoring. We have a duty to live our lives in a way that upholds the ideals for which the men and women gave their lives, to build a living memorial to their courage and sacrifice..."
~President George W. Bush


this is what people who like president and mrs. bush do...they actually take pictures of the seats on stage. the farmer should know better by now. really he should, after all these years. than to say something that sounds like a dare.  

Arrival on the second day went as originally planned. We were able to park and ride the shuttle bus to the memorial entance.

The Farmer sped up the whole disembarking part by falling down the bus steps in front of everybody. kept his grip on the two folding chairs he was carrying. yes he did. but fell the whole way. we just always manage to insert some type of smooth coolness into every event. you'd think that The Farmer and his wife were biologically related, the way they both seem to do those kinds of things.

Picnik collagePicnik collage
Picnik collagePicnik collage

We had chatted briefly with a reporter while riding in together on the bus. Later he came rushing over saying loudly that he'd been looking everywhere for us, wanting an interview. I didn't realize how funny that sounded until a man nearby couldn't stand it anymore and blurted, "So, who are you guys?"


Bruce The Reporter told us how his friend Wally Miller, Somerset County Coroner, shared with him about feeling uplifted and experiencing the prayers of many while working those horrific days on site.

We met Julia, a dear lady who loves the Lord. She's a wife, mom, nurse... and an eyewitness to Flight 93 flying inverted. She immediately called into work, a local medical facility, only to be told the sobering reality that no. sadly. there was no need to come in.

We all remember how evil roared and snapped viciously on that day.
we shuddered as we heard. we wept as we watched.
the unprecedented horror. the unthinkable tragic loss of life.

The lives of the heroes of Flight 93 were cut short...
but they were not taken.
evil did not.
does not.and will not.have the last word.

The hijackers couldn't forcibly take what was offered as a gift for greater good.
The quiet strength of love, courage and sacrifice speaks louder and last.

touching our hearts deeply... like at shanksville

bending our knees and changing our lives... like at the foot of the cross.

offered as a gift


"May all who visit this place remember the collective acts of courage and sacrifice of the passengers and crew,
revere this hallowed ground as the final resting place of those heroes, and reflect on the power of individuals who choose to make a difference."

Christian Adams                Kristin Osterholm White Gould
Lorraine G. Bay                 Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas
Todd M. Beamer                Wanda Anita Green
Alan Anthony Beaven         Donald Freeman Greene
Mark Bingham                   Linda Gronlund
Deora Frances Bodley        Richard J. Guadagno
Sandy Waugh Bradshaw    First Officer Leroy Homer
Marion R. Britton               Toshiya Kuge
Thomas E. Burnett, Jr.       CeeCee Ross Lyles
William Joseph Cashman    Hilda Marcin
Georgine Rose Corrigan     Waleska Martinez
Patricia Cushing                 Nicole Carol Miller
Captain Jason M. Dahl        Louis J. Nacke II
Joseph Deluca                   Donald Arthur Peterson
Patrick Joseph Driscoll       Jean Hoadley Peterson
Edward Porter Felt             Mark David Rothenberg
Jane C. Folger                   Christine Ann Snyder
Colleen L. Fraser                John Talignani
Andrew Garcia                   Honor Elizabeth Wainio
Jeremy Logan Glick            Deborah Jacobs Welsh


"A common field one day...a field of honor forever."

our favorite and most meaningful parts of the events...
~that God was welcomed. God was honored. God was thanked.
~each name being read and the bells rung.
~the ovation offered to president bush.
~the speeches by president bush and gov tom ridge.
~the music and soloists. the patriotism.
and lastly. perhaps it sounds strange...
~tailgating our lunch after it was all over.
with all of the exhaustion and emotion
and even while realizing how unfair it is, when ones normal continues and anothers does not.
simply eating a meal as a family out of the back of our van... felt like a sacred gift.
and you know what? think about it.
it was.


don't forget.