SHANKSVILLE, Pa. – Over two decades ago, four planes were hijacked, and one crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The 40 crew members and passengers on Flight 93 prevented the plane from reaching its original destination in Washington, D.C.
Shanksville is a small town, and after 9/11, it holds a lot of history. Tim Lambert and his family owned a piece of the land where Flight 93 crashed that day.
Lambert and his dad have visited the crash site several times over the past two decades. He says every time he visited, he saw a reminder of Flight 93.
“Right away when we got there in October 2001 you would smell jet fuel when the wind picked up. Flight 93 was literally all around us, little pieces of metal, there was installation, wiring, plastic, paper, pieces of mail,” Lambert said.
“And as I would visit the site over the years, I just always got into a habit of looking down because you would always find a reminder of Flight 93. The site would always tell a story of Flight 93,” Lambert said.
A few years following the crash, Lambert and his family sold 163 acres to the National Park Service and the families of the victims of Flight 93.
“The land that we once owned is now restricted just for families only, so when families visit, they can walk down into where the plane already crashed. It’s now basically a cemetery. It’s where their loved ones’ remains are,” Lambert said.
Lambert says he will always be connected to a piece of history.
“To see that memorial now honoring what those 40 did — it’s just very gratifying and we’re just a footnote in the story,” Lambert said
The Shanksville community is a small town, but they are doing everything they can to make sure the lives of those on Flight 93 are always remembered.
Erik Greenawalt lived in Pennsylvania when Flight 93 crashed in 2001. Greenawalt decided to use is love for art to remember the lives lost to use.
“I was actually living in the same area on 9/11 and almost 20 years ago moments of it feel like it was yesterday. Out of anything I remember most is that the country came together on those days after 9/11,” Greenawalt said.
After visiting the memorial size several times, Greenawalt decided that he needed to do something to recognize the heroes aboard Flight 93.
Greenawalt gathered artists from across the country to recreate the faces of the 40 passengers and crew members that lost their lives.
“Minneapolis, Denver, Florida, Georgia, a couple from Michigan … it’s a team from all around the country coming together to recognize these heroes,”. Greenawalt said.
Each artists completed four canvas and they tried to capture the features of the 40 crew and passengers.
“There’s a lot of people that are coming here for the first time on the 20th anniversary and what we are able to do here is there first exposure to who those heroes were,” Greenawalt said.
Cindy Langhm decided to visit the crash site for the first time on her birthday: Sept. 11.
“I didn’t realize the feeling I would get from being out here. I just keep seeing butterflies and it just reminds me of peace and serenity and I just hope these 40 people are all at peace,” Langhm said.
While hundreds of people visit the memorial site year-round Langhm says she is thankful for the thousands of lives the crew and passengers saved.
“In 25 minutes, they basically found out what was happening realized that they were facing a dire situation and then they did something amazing … very American … they got together and had a vote on what they should do, and they decided to fight back,” Lambert said.