Bishop: Flight 93 Memorial Chapel to remain at present location

By Vicki Rock Daily American

For a recently-shot video of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, please click here.

The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel will remain where it is along Stutzmantown Road instead of being moved to Route 30.

Bishop Alphonse Mascherino had hoped to move the chapel to Route 30 because the main entrance to the Flight 93 National Memorial is now along Route 30. Mascherino died Feb. 13 about a month after transferring ownership of the chapel to the Catholic Church of the East. Archbishop Ramzi Musallam, chapel director, said on Monday that the chapel will remain where it is.

“My vision and dream is that it remain here where it was founded 12 years ago,” he said. “People asked me to have it stay here, where it has been. This is its historical place.”

New signs have been erected in Somerset and near the exit of the Flight 93 National Memorial directing people to the chapel. The signs must be working, Musallam said, as 126 people were at the chapel last Friday and 147 last Saturday. The America’s 9/11 motorcycle ride went through the area over the weekend.

But the chapel needs work: The roof is leaking. It is a small roof, but Musallam said it will cost an estimated $12,000 to replace it. He is hoping that people will mail contributions for the roof project to him at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, P.O. Box 142, Shanksville, Pa.15560. He is also hoping that contractors will donate their time to replace it.

Musallam is also planning to construct a memorial wall outside the chapel. The wall will have photographs and the names of the 40 passengers and crew who died on United Airlines Flight 93 when the aircraft crashed in Stonycreek Township on September 11, 2001. Terrorists hijacked the plane and the crew and passengers fought back. It was the only one of the four hijacked planes that did not hit a building. The target is believed to have been the U.S. Capitol.

The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily from now through September 11. Events have been scheduled for the anniversary. At 1 p.m. September 1 the Thunder on the Mountain motorcycle ride will hold a ceremony. At 11 a.m. September 8 a Mass will be held. The North Star Kids from Pittsburgh will sing. The Mass will be followed by a festival with music, food, arts and crafts.

Various events will be held on September 11. At 10:03 a.m., the time of the crash, the Thunder on the Mountain bell will be rung, followed by an outdoor procession on the grounds. Mass will be held at 11 a.m. An ecumenical service will be held at 2 p.m. with representatives of multiple religions participating in a candlelight service. The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program from Shikellamy High School in Sunbury will participate.

Joseph Walsh teaches a leadership class. He is bringing 50 cadets to the chapel for the second consecutive year.

“As a teacher it is important for the kids to remember and reflect on the events of September 11,” Walsh said in a telephone interview. “These kids are now 14 to 18, which means that 12 years ago some of them were still in diapers. They have no perspective on what happened.”

The 50 students were each assigned to research a person who was on Flight 93. Forty of those students will be chosen to each carry a flag to represent one of the passengers or crew members.

“This is 21st century learning, not just from textbooks,” Walsh said. “Being in Pennsylvania we felt it is important for us to come.”

Musallam will give the JROTC students a certificate of appreciation. He will also award certificates to 14 volunteers who are active at the chapel.

“The ecumenical service is very important because we need to come together as a community and a nation to remember our 40 heroes,” Musallam said. “We’re here to continue to keep alive the events of that day. We can’t only participate in events when tragedies occur. We must continue to remember all of the heroes of September 11, the veterans, the military and our first responders.

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