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National Park Foundation matching Flight 93 Memorial donations

By Chris Boyette, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A 2,200-acre national park is planned as a memorial to United Flight 93
  • The plane crashed on 9/11 after hijackers took over and passengers fought back
  • The National Park Foundation says it will match donations totaling $2 million
  • A memorial organizer says about $10 million is left to raise in the $62 million project

(CNN) -- The National Park Foundation will match donations totaling up to $2 million for a memorial in Pennsylvania commemorating United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed on September 11, 2001, after hijackers took over the plane, according to an official of the fundraising effort.

King Laughlin, vice president of the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign, said the memorial is planned to be a 2,200-acre national park, the core of which will be a commemorative monument to the 40 passengers and crew who died when Flight 93 crashed outside the town of Shanksville in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The plane went down, killing all on board, as passengers fought back against the hijackers, according to post-9/11 investigations.

The memorial project is estimated to cost $62 million, Laughlin said.

"So far we've raise $52 million in private and public funds." He went on to say most of the remaining $10 million would come from private donations.

"At this homestretch of the campaign, right near the 10-year anniversary mark (of 9/11), the National Park Foundation is matching (up to $2 million) to incentivize potential donors," he said.

The foundation is the charitable arm of the National Park Service, and leads the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign in collaboration with Flight 93 partner organizations. Among those organizations are Families of Flight 93, Flight 93 Advisory Commission, and Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial.

In addition to the monument, the memorial site will ultimately house a visitor's center with traditional and interactive exhibits, public programs, and information about the history of Flight 93. Funds will also go to developing the facilities, roads, and infrastructure around the museum to make access to the remote park easier for visitors.

Several special exhibits designed to honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93 are planned. One will be the "Tower of Voices," a 93-foot-tall tower with 40 free-hanging wind chimes.

"As the wind blows over the ridge, it allows the voices of Flight 93 to be heard again," Laughlin said. Eventually 40 groves of trees will be planted as part of the park's effort to reclaim and revitalize the park land, a former coal mine now owned by the federal government.

The completed portions of the memorial will be dedicated in a public ceremony on September 10. In a White House press release, Press Secretary Jay Carney announced President Barack Obama will visit the site on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and Vice President Joe Biden will attend the dedication ceremony the day before.

On 9/11, United Airlines Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco when hijackers took over the plane according to the 9/11 Commission. Investigators said the terrorists were most likely trying to turn the airplane toward Washington to hit a major political target.

 
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