Monday, March 21, 2022

Flight 93 Memorial Hike

At the lower memorial wall looking up
to the upper visitor center
Flight 93 Memorial Hike
Trailhead Elevation: 2,468 ft.
Distance: 0.96 mi.
Elevation Gain: 41 ft.
Elevation Descent: 175 ft.
Start Time: 2:00pm
End Time: 2:25pm

Trip Report:
"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)"

Jesus spoke those words the night before He would hang on the cross and die for the sins of all mankind. He was describing His own work to come, without a doubt. He was describing the great form and example of love humanity has ever witnessed. But in His words we also get this hint that we are all able to walk, in some humble way, in his footsteps. We can't die innocently nor can we die to save all mankind. But we can show such a love that we are willing to sacrifice our lives for the sake of others. A greater love.

From the visitor center
looking down to the crash site area

These thoughts were in my mind as our family visited the Flight 93 National Memorial. We toured the museum first and I was surprised how emotional it became for me. Quite frankly I usually don't get so moved by viewing items in a museum. There was something about this day and the feelings brought up by thinking of all that took place on September 11 that truly moved me. I still remember vividly witnessing via television many of the events play out. I was watching live when the towers in New York collapsed. I remember hearing and trying to understand the reports out of Shanksville, PA about the plan that went down there while supposedly on its way to Washington.

The thought of what the passengers on Flight 93 did to save others while almost certainly knowing they may cause their own death is truly what is so moving. I love to see and to think of that kind of love. Its moving with a hint of sadness but it is also an expression of wonderful, tearful joy. Sadness and joy can be paradoxically connected in this kind of greater love.
Upper part of the hiking path,
in pristine condition
The hike this day was a simple walk down the hill. It was a beautiful well maintained crushed gravel trail with a number of people partaking of it. The section we walked is a part of a much greater loop that circles around the main section of the memorial. You can start and end at the upper visitor center area. You could also start and end at the memorial wall down near the crash site. Its not really about the hiking though as much as it is about taking in the beautiful landscape and contemplating the event that took place there.

The setup of the memorial is impressive. When you're at the lower memorial wall near the actual crash site you can look up the hill to the visitor center area and see the large concrete walls which mimic the flight path. It almost brings to life the flight path of their last moments which makes the design inspiring.

Our family as a whole was impressed and moved by the visit and would recommend it to anyone. I would love to go back again and walk the entire loop to enjoy moreso the full scope of the park.

Looking to the upper visitor center
and the walls mimicking the flight path

A gate made of hemlock at the memorial
wall guarding the path out to the crash site

An open look to the crash site and the hemlock grove behind it

Driving on the outer loop looking at the beautiful bridge for hiking

The Tower of Voices.  Recently finished. 
You pass by it near the entrance to the park

I have a track and waypoints from the hike all contained in the embedded Google Map. Check it out and use at your own risk.

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