Flight 93 Memorial fundraising on track

By Cecelia Hanley CBS Atlanta

SHANKSVILLE, PA (RNN) – A quiet memorial is forming in the countryside – the crash site of United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.

The National Park Foundation has been earnestly raising $30 million dollars to build the Flight 93 National Memorial, and features are incrementally constructed as funds are raised.

“Over 100,000 individual donations have come in from every state and from 200 foreign countries,” said King Laughlin, vice president of the Flight 93 Memorial Campaign.

The 11th anniversary of the attacks provided a boost in fundraising for the memorial, which expects to reach its fundraising goal by spring 2013.

But the anniversary also brought squabbling about the finances for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center into the public eye.

Arguments between the memorial foundation and the New York/New Jersey Port Authority, which owns the land, postponed construction and delayed the museum’s opening.

The Flight 93 Memorial, however, is a public memorial. It needs to raise about $5 million more, and recently partnered with Alcoa Foundation in a donation matching program.

The foundation will match public donations up to $255,000 through Oct. 1.

The memorial stretches across more than 2,000 acres of a former coal mine and blends nature with the man-made features. Visitors walk along a memorial plaza before arriving at the Wall of Names – 40 names engraved on giant marble panes with two gaps to depict the flight path of the plane.

“[The memorial has] achieved its purpose of protecting the sacred ground where the plane crashed,” Laughlin said.

The two features planned for construction with the new funds are the Learning Center, which will house exhibits, and the Tower of Voices, a 93-foot tall tower containing 40 wind chimes, one for each victim.

The construction of the next phase of the memorial is on schedule, and Laughlin said it would be completed in 2014 – a quick turnaround for a national memorial that broke ground Nov. 7, 2009.

“The World War II Memorial took us 60 years before that was built. The Martin Luther King Memorial took almost 40 years,” Laughlin said. “And to come this far to build a memorial – a 2,200 acre national park in a little more than 10 years – is quite impressive and quite extraordinary.”

Flight 93 was scheduled to travel from Newark, NJ, to San Francisco on September 11, 2001, but terrorists overtook the flight crew and veered the plane toward Washington. The 40 passengers [and crew members] prevented the attackers from flying the plane into a U.S. government building.

Those wanting to donate should visit www.honorflight93.org or text MEMORIAL to 90999 and $10 donation will be added to your mobile phone bill.

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