Flight 93

The visitors center at Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, PA., Wednesday, Sept.2, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic may impact how we remember, but it cannot keep us from remembering the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

On the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, ours is a nation distracted by a health concern and divided by contentious politics.

But we are called – indeed, obligated – to pause on this Sept. 11, 2020, and pay tribute to the many who lost their lives, including the 40 heroes who perished when United Flight 93 crashed down in Somerset County.

Although both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, contenders for the White House in the November elections, are to make appearances at the Flight 93 National Memorial, the ceremony will be streamed live on the web and the public will not be permitted onto the grounds until after the morning service – to maintain social distancing precautions.

The Tribune-Democrat will show the service through a National Park Service feed on our website, www.tribdem.com, and Facebook page, beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Similar safety precautions will be in place at the Pentagon and in New York City.

“These measures have been taken to respect and protect visitors in this time of COVID-19, while at the same time continuing to honor the undaunted courage of the heroes of United Flight 93,” said Gordon Felt, president of the Families of Flight 93.

The local ceremony will again feature the reading of the names of the 40 heroes, along with the ringing of the Bells of Remembrance.

We urge readers to pause wherever you are at 10:03 a.m. Friday – the moment Flight 93 came down near Shanksville – and think about the sacrifice of those innocents, who fought back against the terrorists on that plane, paying for their courage with their own lives but saving untold thousands.

Debra Epps, whose brother Christopher died at the World Trade Center, told The Associated Press that although she supports steps to control the pandemic, the deadly virus can’t keep her heart from feeling.

“I will remember my brother,” she said, “no matter what.”

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