Memorial for United 93 heroic victims opens in Union City
according to National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (2004). "Chapter 1", 9/11 Commission:
a Boeing 757-222 on a morning route from Newark International Airport (now known as Newark Liberty International Airport) in Newark, New Jersey, near New York City, to San Francisco International Airport near San Francisco, California (EWR-SFO). It had 182 seats but was carrying only 37 passengers (including the four hijackers) and seven crew members: two pilots, the captain Jason M. Dahl and his first officer, LeRoy Homer Jr.; and five flight attendants. Because one passenger had booked two seats, some early accounts said there were 38 passengers on board. The four hijackers were seated in first class.
Ten passengers and two crew members were able to make calls that went through, providing information to family, friends, and others on the ground
(normally planes with such few passenger would not even take off...)
Granite stones are somber but deeply symbolic
By Kim Vo -- Mercury News -- 8dec07
Cathy Stefani caressed the rose-colored granite monolith, one of dozens that lined the narrow field. Her middle child's name was engraved on its polished surface: Nicole C. Miller, 21, San Jose, CA.
As she was on Sept. 11, 2001, Miller was surrounded by the other passengers and crew members of the ill-fated United Airlines Flight 93. It crashed in a Pennsylvania field after a passenger uprising prevented terrorists from steering the Boeing 757 into a building, as had been done that day with the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
Everyone - 33 passengers, 7 crew members and 4 hi-jackers - died.
Andrew "Sonny" Garcia, 62, Portola Valley, CA. Waleska Martinez, 37, Jersey City, NJ. Lauren Grandcolas & Unborn Child, 38, San Rafael, CA.
Under the crisp Saturday sky, more than 100 people - including the victims' families - dedicated the memorial to those who came to symbolize the heroism of ordinary people. Scores of spectators gathered beyond the metal barricades.
"It's beautiful," said Stefani, who wore a button reading "Our Angel Nicole" with a photo of the smiling brunette taken a few days before her death.
"Today brings back a lot of feelings. As time goes on, it gets easier," she said. "But when things happen, it brings sadness back up, but it feels good to have the community do this."
Hayward resident Michael L. Emerson envisioned a Bay Area memorial since many of the passengers were local. Union City provided the land - a grassy strip behind the Union Landing Shopping Center. Dozens of companies and hundreds of volunteers donated materials, money and labor to create the memorial which took five years to complete.
Forty stone monuments wend through Sugar Mill Landing Park, each containing the name, age and town of a passenger or crew member. Each 5-and-a-half-foot tall stone has three unpolished sides representing the victims' unfinished lives; a mirror is afixed to each one because "it could have been any one of us," Emerson said. It also invites viewers to reflect what they would have done.
Volunteers were humbled to join the project, said Barry Luboviski, secretary/treasurer of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Alameda County. They found the stone transformed once names were placed upon it.
"Something reached out to us," he said, and left them "wondering who were those people, what they were like, what they would have been like in the future. That's what the memorial is about: Who they were and what they sacrificed."
A separate, national memorial is also planned for Shanksville, Pa., near where the plane crashed.
Jerry Bingham, who attended Saturday's dedication, plans to help with the Pennsylvania one, too. It's a way to honor his son.
"The people in Shanksville and now the people in Union City, they're part of our community now. It's a heartfelt bond," said Bingham, who flew out from Florida. A metal bracelet circles his wrist with "An American Hero Mark Bingham" inscribed inside. Above sits another bracelet - red, white and blue reminding everyone to "Never Forget."
Contact Kim Vo at email@example.com or call (408) 920-5719