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Flight 93 memorial will be ready by 2011, planners pledge

Associated Press / February 21, 2009
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SOMERSET, Pa. - Government officials and representatives of the passengers and crew killed when United Flight 93 crashed in a rural Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001, have pledged to dedicate a memorial there by the attacks' 10th anniversary.

Plans for a memorial at the site near Shanksville, about 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, have been in the works for years. But construction hasn't begun, as arguments over the memorial's design and problems buying land have slowed development.

Yesterday, federal and state officials as well as family members of the victims signed a "letter of commitment" that they said reaffirms their goal of having the first phase of a memorial built by Sept. 11, 2011.

The plane was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was diverted by hijackers with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol. The official 9/11 Commission report said the hijackers crashed the plane as passengers tried to wrest control of the cockpit.

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter called the site as important to 21st-century America as memorials to Valley Forge, Gettysburg, and Pearl Harbor are to the nation's history in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

"Those of us who were in the Congress on Sept. 11, 2001, may well owe our lives to the heroism of those who brought down that plane," Specter said at a signing ceremony in Somerset, not far from the crash site.

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