Flight 93 National Memorial

A guest walks past the flight path walls at the visitors center at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, PA., on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020.

The Flight 93 National Memorial won’t open Friday until after a 9:45 a.m. ceremony marking the anniversary concludes  – but Visitor Center hours will be extended until 7 p.m. that day for public visits, National Park Services officials said Wednesday.

President Donald Trump and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt are both scheduled to make remarks, Bernhardt’s press secretary,  Ben Goldey told The Tribune-Democrat on Wednesday.

The Park Service, which operates under the U.S. Department of the Interior, opted to keep this year’s observance private after meeting with the Families of Flight 93.

Instead, the event will be offered free to the public through EarthCam, a global network of streaming web cameras via www.nps.gov/flni, Flight 93 National Memorial Superintendent Stephen Clark said.

EarthCam has broadcast Flight 93 Memorial milestones to the world before.

Clark noted that the Park Service worked with EarthCam several years ago to showcase the park’s progress during construction.

“The Families of Flight 93 applaud the National Park Service decision to make this year’s commemorative service at the Flight 93 National Memorial available to the world via a live stream,” Gordon Felt, president of the Families of Flight 93, said. “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.”

The Park Service has indicated this year’s abbreviated event will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the Memorial Plaza and while music and will be highlighted by the annual “Bells of Remembrance” ceremony, which will honor each passenger and crew member as their name is read aloud.

As of Wednesday, Trump, Bernhardt, who oversees the Park Service as Secretary of the Interior in Trump’s cabinet and “other dignitaries,” comprised the guest list for Friday’s ceremony, the press release shows.

Officials with the campaign for former Vice-President Joe Biden, who is vying to unseat Trump in November, have indicated the Scranton native was planning to attend the Flight 93 memorial with his wife, Jill, on 9/11. But there were no indications if that would be during the ceremony or afterward.

“There’s a lot of moving parts ... so I can’t confirm or deny that right now,” Goldey said.

Once the park opens to the public after the ceremony, visitors are being asked to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Entry into the park may be delayed at times to limit overcrowding and enable guests to social distance, Park officials said.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

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