Volunteers planting trees at Flight 93 site

By Marc Stempka WJAC TV

To view a video of the tree planting, please click here.

STONYCREEK TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Dozens of volunteers are spending their Friday planting thousands of tree seedlings at the Flight 93 National Memorial as the National Park Service continues to work on reforesting the park.

In conjunction with National Parks Week, volunteers are planting the trees Friday and Saturday to continue to beautify the site that honors those who were killed when United Flight 93 crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, on September 11, 2001.

Park officials said this is the third year for the tree planting event. In the past two years approximately 28,000 seedlings were planted and an additional 20,000 were expected to be planted this weekend.

The president of Friends of Flight 93 organization, Lladel Lichty, said the volunteers are eager to help because so many people want to remember and reflect on the events of that national tragedy.

“[They want to] make it a place where everybody wants to come and visit and to remember what happened on September 11,” Lichty said. “[It’s to] honor and remember the individuals who were on the plane, as well as to reforest this beautiful area.”

Lichty said volunteers came from local communities and throughout the United States.

“This is amazing to bring them all together, to have them working on a project that will mean something to our community,” Lichty said.

Deputy National Park Superintendent Keith Newlin said volunteers become very attached to the work they take part of at the site, with many wanting to return and visit the trees they put in the ground.

“They become very emotional because they come back and we hope that their trees are still alive in five years,” Newlin said. “But they GPS their trees and they hope to come back because they can see they contributed to the construction of the memorial.”

In addition to the three planting, the National Park Service continues to make new spaces at the park for people to visit and continue conservation efforts, including building a new learning center at the site, Newlin said. The learning center is expected to be 12,000 square feet.

Wetlands and a bridge over that area is also planned to be constructed.

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