Despite it being 11 years since the terrorist attacks on September 11,2001 took place, the Flight 93 Memorial in western Pennsylvania is seeing more and more visitors and there are more plans for the site.
More than 1,000 bus groups are expected to visit the memorial park this year in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed down. This is almost twice the amount from 2011. The memorial is expected to have 200,000 visitors this year.
"It really seems to resonate with school groups and bus groups," King Laughlin, vice president of the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign told the Associated Press.
Just recently, a large group on Amish tourists visited the site to pay their respects.
Currently, the memorial contains a concrete Memorial Plaza and a Wall of Names which contains 40 white panels with the names of the passengers on board who lost their lives that day. Some include Capt. Jason Dahl, flight attendant CeeCee Lyles, German immigrant and grandmother Hilda Marcin, businessman Thomas Burnett, engineer Edward Felt, former rugby standout Mark Bingham, accountant Todd Beamer and others.
Beamer was one of the courageous passengers that fought against the terrorists who hijacked their flights. He is known for saying "Let's roll," during the revolt.
There is still more to come for the memorial, which is expected to be complete by 2014. Park officials hope to open a visitor center by next spring. There will also be 40 trees planted to represent the 40 lives lost on the flight and an entry portal on the hill that overlooks the memorial.
After these additions are complete, a third phase will begin, which will include the "Tower of Voices, a 93 foot tall tower with 40 wind chimes. This third phase could cost $5 million, putting the entire project costs at a range of $67 million to $76 million.
The memorial is a big change from the makeshift memorial that was set up shortly after the plane crashed on Sept. 11. A few weeks after the attack, a chain link fence was set up and visitors left notes and personal items at the site. Visitors continue to leave items such as religious items, military mementos and more.
On September 11, 2001, Flight 93 was flying from Newark, N.J. to San Francisco when it was hijacked by four terrorists on board. The terrorists, after successful attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon probably had a bigger target than a field in Shanksville, PA, but brave passengers on board fought back.
Memorial events will take place at the site this week for the eleventh anniversary of the attack. Vice President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta plan to visit the memorial this week.
Biden is expected to speak on Tuesday, so officials advise visitors to get to the site at least two hours before the 9:30 a.m. start due to security issues. The event will also include the reading of the names of the 40 victims in the crash.
The memorial is free of charge.