This Memorial Day, I had the honor of honoring our fallen heroes at The National Park Service site dedicated to the victims of Flight 93 at the National Memorial in Pennsylvania. Perhaps there was no better way to honor our fallen heroes on a visit to the region. A visitor to the Pittsburgh region, I stopped by the National Flight 93 Memorial on my way back to New York City. The Whitehouse blog http://www.whitehouse.gov added that the National Park Service offers visitors ways to “celebrate and honor the memory of U.S. military members.” Yesterday (May 26, 2014) I had the opportunity to do just that.
“On the last Monday of May, our nation will come together to observe Memorial Day and honor the men and women who gave their lives in service of our country. Throughout the National Park System, many sites will hold events in memoriam of the greatest sacrifice made by these brave American veterans, while other sites stand as permanent tributes to fallen soldiers year-round,” added The White House blog.
“This year, five national parks will continue their Civil War 150th celebrations by observing Memorial Day with special events. National parks such as Andersonville National Historic Site (Georgia), Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park (Virginia), and Monocacy National Battlefield (Maryland) will host programs paying tribute to the American veterans who were lost on the battlefield,” added the blog report.
“From the first days of the American Revolutionary War to the lives lost on September 11, 2001, the National Park Service protects the memory of those who sacrificed themselves to protect our nation. Invite your friends and family to join us in reflecting on the last full measure of devotion made by our fellow Americans,” added The White House blog.
Here is a rundown of the 10 National Parks any good citizen should visit for Memorial Day 2014: Added http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog: Celebrate and honor the memory of U.S. military members by:
1. Learning what it was like to be a soldier in the American Revolutionary War at Independence National Historical Park (Pennsylvania) with activities and presentations throughout the day. | Event
2. Remembering the lives lost in the first battle of the U.S.-Mexican War at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park (Texas), one of our American Latino Heritage Fund sites.
3. Paying tribute to America’s fallen troops -- from the War of 1812 to today -- at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Chalmette National Cemetery (Louisiana). | Event
4. Reflecting on the sacrifices of this nation’s military personnel at Shiloh National Military Park (Tennessee) by listening to living historians as they interpret wars from colonial times to today. | Event
5. Visiting the numerous sites at National Mall & Memorial Parks (Washington, D.C.) and taking time to remember the contributions and service of American veterans both at home and abroad.
6. Recognizing the valiant dedication of the first African American military pilots in World War II at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site (Alabama), one of our African American Experience Fund sites. | Event
7. Joining Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Maryland) as they pay tribute to the graves of fallen War of 1812, Civil War, World War I and II, and Korean War veterans. | Event
8. Honoring of the lives of ordinary passengers and crew members, who joined together for an extraordinary act of selflessness at Flight 93 National Memorial (Pennsylvania).
9. Exploring the Lincoln Memorial through an interactive website that showcases the memorial and park ranger reflections on its history.
10. Watching PBS’s live National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 25, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET, and enjoying the musical tributes by groups such as the U.S. Army Chorus, U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, and the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants.
Trees planted in honor of the victims of Flight 93
http://www.nps.gov adds that recently from April 25 to 26, 2014 the National park Service, the Friends of Flight 93, and the National Park Foundation “continued a major reforestation effort that will eventually result in large areas of new forest at the memorial.”
Added http://www.nps.gov: “these trees, which are a mixture of several native species, will form an essential windbreak to protect trees planted in the nearby Memorial Groves.” This effort will serve as a sort of living memorial to Flight 93.
Adds the Flight 93 brochure that one can receive when entering the memorial site the memorial is “a common field one day. A field of honor forever.” Adds the moving and heart-wrenching statements in the leaflet that I picked up at the memorial: “September 11, 2001, morning: Four commercial airliners are hijacked by al Qaeda terrorists in a planned attack against the United States. Two are flown into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City. A third is flown into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth plane, Flight 93, a Boeing 757 bound from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, California is delayed for 25 minutes before its scheduled takeoff." Adds the report: “Just before 10 a.m. the plane is seen low and erratically over southwestern Pennsylvania. At 10:03 it crashes, upside down, at 563 miles per hour into this Somerset County field. There are no survivors. All 33 passengers, seven crew, and four hijackers are killed.
Six minutes of heroic struggle by passengers aboard Flight 93 allowed the plot to hit the Nation’s Capital to be derailed, saving countless lives by the heroic actions of those on the hijacked plane. The terrorists were not able to reach their target because of the actions of the victims of Flight 93. Every day visitors can honor the memory of these fallen victims to terrorism. Many leave flowers, notes, and symbols of the heroism of those aboard that flight on September 11. This memorial, like the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City helps us remember the events of that fateful day. Is honoring the heroes of all those who suffered their lives at the hands of terrorism what the true meaning of Memorial Day is all about? Staten Islanders interested in seeing this poignant reminder of September 11, may visit the memorial in Western Pennsylvania for free during park hours. This summer, this may be one national park you may want to view if you are touring Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania.