SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — After nine years of looking back and remembering the victims — and victors — of those aboard United Flight 93, reasons for looking ahead are taking place.

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — After nine years of looking back and remembering the victims — and victors — of those aboard United Flight 93, reasons for looking ahead are taking place.


First lady Michelle Obama, former first lady Laura Bush, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar were the guests at the ceremony in Shanksville, Pa., held for the families of those lost on the failed hijacking of Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.


A ceremonial reading of the deceased was given by family members of the fateful flight. As each name was spoken, a bell sounded out.


Bush, who was introduced by Joanne Hanley, superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial, said, “This spot was not chosen by the terrorists. They had other targets for their violence and hate. This spot was chosen by the passengers of Flight 93, who spared our country from even greater horrors.”


She spoke of the resolve of those on board but also of the nation as a whole on that day and the days after.


“Nine years ago, we saw the worst of our enemy and the best of our nation.”


Obama spoke next, recalling the moment when the terror turned and ordinary people took control of an unthinkable situation.


“In that moment,” she said, “when the facts became clear, and when they were called the make an impossible choice, they all found the same resolve. They agreed to the same bold plan. They called the people they loved, many of them giving comfort instead of seeking it. Explaining that they were taking action and that everything would be OK. And then they rose as one. They acted as one. And together they changed history’s course.”


“It was clear that these 40 individuals were no strangers to sacrifice,” she said, saying each was a model of Americana, from coaches to parents to veterans.


“Being a hero is not just a matter of faith,” she said, “it’s a matter of choice.”


Flight 93 left New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001, when hijackers took over and pointed the plane toward Washington, D.C. Passengers fought back, and the ensuing struggle crash-landed the plane in a field near Shanksville.


The service was held at the Western Overlook, where first responders  worked and others held vigil after the crash.


Next yeat, on the tenth anniversity of 9/11, the service is set to take place at a permanent memorial making the heroism of the passengers of Flight 93, complete with a 93-foot tower and wind chimes for each of the 40 departed.


News-Tribune