News   Observances

Nation Remembers Courage of Heroes Killed on Flight 93 on 9/11

Sept. 11, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Sailors of the amphibious transport dock (LPD) USS Arlington, LPD USS New York, and LPD USS Somerset, as well as others, attended an observance today at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, for the heroes of United Flight 93, which crashed at 10:03 a.m., Sept. 11, 2001.

The Somerset was named for the county in which Flight 93 crashed and the other two vessels were named for the locations of the other 9/11 attacks.

The silhouette of a memorial with a sunrise in the background.
Tower of Voices
The Flight 93 National Memorial stands in a field in Shanksville, Pa. The Tower of Voices is conceived as a monumental, 93 feet tall musical instrument holding forty wind chimes, representing the forty passengers and crew members that died in the attack on 9/11.
Photo By: C. Claycomb, National Park Service
VIRIN: 210901-O-D0439-001

Forty passengers and crew, not including the four terrorists, lost their lives.

The names of the passengers and crew members were read by the family members of the survivors with the ringing of the Bells of Remembrance.

Navy Capt. Dave Kurtz, commander of the USS Somerset, spoke. 

The story of Flight 93 is one of 40 people brought together by circumstance, most of whom knew no one on board, banding together in a time of crisis, he said. 

Visitors walk along a memorial wall adorned with flower bouquets.
Flight 93 Memorial Plaza
The Flight 93 memorial includes the Memorial Plaza, a quarter-mile northern-boundary to the crash site, which is the final resting place of the passengers and crew members. Flight 93 crashed here, killing 40 passengers and crew members, during the attacks on 9/11.
Photo By: C. Claycomb, National Park Service
VIRIN: 210901-O-D0439-003

"I could think of no greater act of service, no higher calling, than prioritizing the lives of others when one's very existence is at stake. Defying comprehension, these unsuspecting people, suddenly thrust into an extraordinary situation, acted with complete selflessness," he said.

Kurtz noted that some of the sailors and Marines aboard the Somerset were not even born on 9/11. He said that every shipmate is provided with an education of what happened that day and is told the significance that their work means for freedom.

They are reminded that it is their solemn duty to carry on with the legacy of those 40 heroes, he added.

George W. Bush, who was president on 9/11, also spoke.

The events of 9/11 changed Americans' lives forever, he said.

A memorial visitor center sits in the middle of a green field.
Flight 93 Memorial
The Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center in Shanksville, Pa. offers information about the 40 passengers and crew aboard the plane that crashed here during the 9/11 attacks.
Photo By: C. Claycomb, National Park Service
VIRIN: 210901-O-D0439-002

"We saw that Americans were vulnerable, but not fragile; that they possess a core strength that survives the worst that life can bring. We learned that bravery is more common than we imagined," he said.

Bush also spoke to those in uniform and military veterans, who he said have answered the call of duty, the noblest America has to offer.

"You have shielded your fellow citizens from danger and advanced the rights of the downtrodden. You have been the face of hope and mercy in dark places. You have been a force for good in the world. Nothing that followed, nothing, can tarnish your honor, or diminish your accomplishments. Our country is forever grateful," he said.