Locals remember victims of United Flight 93

September 11, 2011 7:56:49 PM PDT
United Airlines Flight 93 will forever connect the Bay Area to the terrorist attacks of September 11.

The plane left Newark, New Jersey and was on its way to San Francisco International Airport on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. The passengers fought the hijackers aboard the plane until it went down in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. On Sunday, thousands converged on the new Flight 93 memorial to honor them.

On the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attack, crowds flocked to the Pennsylvania field where Flight 93 crashed into the ground. That area is now a memorial.

A marble wall of names represents the plane's flight path. There are 40 names for each passenger and crew member.

"Her name is now etched in her favorite color -- white," said Debby Borza who lost her daughter on Sept. 11. "Yeah, she would love that."

Deora Bodley was a junior at Santa Clara University who was returning to the Bay Area after having visited friends in New Jersey. Aly Dahl, Bodley's friend, says she has now accepted that what happened to Bodley on that day was beyond her control.

"We took her to the airport early so I could get to class," Dahl said. "That's played over adn over in my head for 10 years now, and I think today was the first day I was able to relinquish that it wasn't my fault."

San Jose native Jason Dahl was the pilot of Flight 93. His sister, Carole Heiderich, says he's the second in the family whose name is now on a national memorial.

Heiderich's older brother, Ken, was killed in Vietnam. His name appears on the Vietnam Memorial wall in Washington.

"I understand it's an honor, and I like that Jason will not be forgotten," Heiderich said. "It is a little bit overwhelming...it brings up sadness in me that their names have to be on a wall."

On Sunday, family members carried on the 9/11 tradition of reading the names of the people on board United Airlines Flight 93. Those people have since gone down in the history books as national heroes.

The passengers fought hard to regain control of the plane from the hijackers, and while they failed to save their own lives, they did save the lives of those who were inside the U.S. Capitol building whom many widely believe was the intended target for Flight 93.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama paid tribute to the victims in a wreath-laying ceremony, and then met with family members one-by-one.

Not everyone decided to take in today's commemoration.

Jack Grandcolas of San Rafael remained in the Bay Area and said he'll visit the memorial on his own when there are no crowds.

His wife, Lauren, was on board United Airlines Flight 93. She was three months pregnant. The marble slab that bears her name also pays tribute to their unborn child.

"The child should be represented in what we lost that day," Grandcolas said. "Maybe a symbol of an unborn generation to other generations that are being born now will inspire them to live a more peaceful and understanding life."


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