By Jerod Stull
(GREENSBURG, Pa)– Silence fills the air as it unifies a crowd to watch lanterns light up marble walls commemorating the passengers from Flight 93 on Friday, September 10. A group of relatives who have connections to the passengers and the crew, lined up and slowly proceeded to the wall to pay their respects.
“Everything changed that day,” said Robert Marisay, who was a victim to the loss of his sister on September 11, 2001. A day that many remember as the nation stood shocked by the atrocities of terrorism. Marisay comes to the memorial every year to remember his sister Georgine Rose Carrigan that walked on the plane coming back from Hawaii.
“If you don’t pay attention to your history, you’re bound to repeat it,” said Marisay. The Memorial ground held objects from the crash site within the Visitor Center. Each wall that was in the building had a mosaic of information and even a recording of the live broadcasting during the event that day; further along were stations that held live recordings of the phone calls before the passengers decided to fight back and try to retake the plane.
“It’s always important that we know our history,” said Tony Kzmarzick, the Director of Campus Ministry here at Seton Hill; “and I think once we are in touch with history and the past we are able to learn from it; we see how people failed and see how people were heroic.”
Kzmarsick continued further to say, “I think with Flight 93 that’s one of the particular things that jumps out is the heroism of those people who said we are not going to allow them to complete their goal, we are going to derail it.” Kzmarzick adds that this was “deeply personal” for those that lived; referring to those that watched on the news, or the witnesses that saw the planes hit the ground or buildings.
“People come here for different reasons; our mission is to preserve, honor, and educate the folks about what happened,” said Ranger Dave Schmidt. He was posted to the recent structure called the Tower of Voices, a 93 feet tall monument which holds 14 custom chimes that are activated at a certain wind speed. “Even if they are not ringing they are representing the powerful human spirit facing adversity.
After a few days of the lighting ceremony taking place Seton Hill’s chaplain, who is a person of religious standing attached to an institution, Father Roger Statnick had the chance to hold a mass service to give his respects. “One of the things that the victims’ families and the park service everybody talks about is that this is a cemetery. This is the actual place where these people’s lives were lost and they all seem to talk about it as sacred ground.” Father Stanick finishes that there is more than meets the eye in places with such history and energy; “There is something embodied there of their spirit that led to their actions and it still lingers.”
“We are given this life for a reason and to live it with purpose; to do something; to make that count,” said Julia Glanzer who was at the Memorial for her first time to see her husband partake in the lighting ceremony that evening. Glanzer revealed that she was distantly related to Thomas E. Bennet Jr who was one of the passengers that devised a plan to retake the hijacked plane. “It’s a good time to reflect and remember.”
Published By: Jerod Stull