The architects: How the Flight 93 Memorial was constructed

Remembering 9/11

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (WTAJ) – The Flight 93 National Memorial started in the minds of just a few people, including the architects tasked with memorializing the actions of the passengers and crew of Flight 93. 

The rural field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania is sacred ground that has been visited by tens of thousands over the years to pay their respects. 

What visitors see now, took years of planning and execution, “So it does seem like a long time but in the other hand it’s just like yesterday that we were selected and started meeting the people involved and talking about how to start everything,” Architect Paul Murdoch said. 

Architect Paul Murdoch and his team were chosen to design the memorial, “It would be very easy to get caught up in the emotional trauma of what occurred there and yet we wanted to create something that would endure over time and be of value to the public over time,” Murdoch said. 

Murdoch says meeting the families of the heroes of Flight 93 has been impactful and deeply memorable, “they clearly understood that the purpose of the memorial was not just for them as much as they grieved that they clearly understood that this memorial was for generations to come,” Murdoch said.

Murdoch says it seems like a long time ago, but on the other hand it’s just like yesterday that the attacks happened,” That’s when we were selected and started meeting the people involved and talking about how to start everything and those memories are quite vivid,” Murdoch said.

Architect Warren Byrd was charged with manicuring the surrounding landscape with sanctity to those who passed, and for those who continue to mourn, “I’ve heard from family members who appreciated what we were collectively doing there, to make a living memorial that was appropriate to the ones they lost,” Byrd said. 

Kyle Newlin of California and his family visited the memorial for the first time, “it’s a great memorial, it’s perfect for conveying that mood that you have, it’s a beautiful nice serene place and it’s kind of astonishing that this nice serene place could’ve been the site of tragedy all of the events that happened in that day,” Newlin said. 

“That they clearly understood that the purpose of the memorial was not just for them as much as they grieved that they clearly understood that this memorial was for generations to come and for the public at large,” Murdoch, said. 

Architects said 9/11 families understood that the Memorial, though deeply personal, was also for the public to reflect.

“It would be very easy to get caught up in the emotional trauma of what occurred there, and yet we wanted to create something that would endure over time and be of value to the public over time, Murdoch said.

According to the National Parks Service there are more than one thousand tourists who visit the memorial each day in the summer months, a number that doubles on the weekends.

The Flight 93 National Memorial is free and open to the public.

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