Ground broken for new War on Terror memorial near United Flight 93 crash site

Flight 93 Memorial (James Steakley/WikiCommons)

It didn’t take long for Stephen Clark, superintendent of Flight 93 National Memorial, to see that Randy Musser had a great idea.

Musser approached Clark several years ago with a plan — to create a new memorial honoring those who fought and died in the Global War on Terror. It would be across Route 30 from the entrance to the national site but still within its legislative boundaries, Clark said. Musser got a quick OK on the project.

“Patriot Park is but a continuation of what Americans did all over the country on 9/11,” Clark said.

Ground was broken last Friday for the Patriot Park Global War on Terrorism Memorial in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, not far from where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field on Sept. 11, 2001, after being hijacked by terrorists. A fundraising campaign is ongoing but organizers wanted to get an initial phase completed in time for the 20th anniversary of the crash.

That will include parking, access to the site and 7,036 flags to represent those who have died while fighting the war on terror. More phases are planned as money is raised. Organizers intend to honor the military men and women who continued the fight that started over the skies of Western Pennsylvania with the new memorial park.

Forty passengers and crew members aboard Flight 93 died a few miles away after fighting back against terrorists who hijacked the plane as part of a coordinated effort in which three other planes crashed into targets that day in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Musser said a 40-foot-tall flagpole will be erected to grab the attention of those leaving the Flight 93 National Memorial. He acquired the property just west of the entrance about five years ago. The new memorial will have information about service members who died in battle and leave room for veterans to honor their fellow troops. Musser said he expects the memorial to cost several million dollars to complete.

G. Henry Cook, foundation board member and former CEO of Somerset Trust, said he hopes the site will be a place where people come to learn about those who fought the war on terror.

Future phases include trees, an education center and a memorial plaza honoring service members. Musser said he hopes to take into consideration the wishes of veterans and families of those who sacrificed their lives in the design of the memorial.

“We need a place to remember them,” he said.

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