Pence's charge to graduates: Lead

Vice President Mike Pence addresses graduates at Grove City College on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Pence challenged the 606 members of the Class of 2017 to lead with perseverance and faith. 

Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at the 16th anniversary observance of Sept. 11, 2001, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County, the National Park Service announced Friday.

The annual observance will begin with an open-air ceremony at 9:45 a.m. Monday, and at 10:03 a.m. — the moment Flight 93 crashed — the names of the passengers and crew members will be read and the Bells of Remembrance will be rung in their memory.

Along with Pence, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will attend. Participants in the ceremony will also include the U.S. Air Force Band, the Rev. Paul Britton of the Families of Flight 93 and Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93.

From 9 a.m. to noon Monday, the Visitor Center will be closed. It will reopen after the ceremony and close at 7 p.m.

At 12:30 p.m. Monday, a wreath-laying ceremony will be held at the Wall of Names for families of Flight 93, memorial officials and dignitaries. At the conclusion of this ceremony, only family members of the passengers and crew will be permitted to walk to the crash site.

Zinke, who is also a global war on terror veteran, will also speak during a groundbreaking at 3:30 p.m. Sunday for the Tower of Voices, which will initiate the last phase of the memorial's final piece.

The tower will contain 40 uniquely pitched chimes to represent the eternal voices of the passengers and crew on board Flight 93 in a small field near the entrance to the memorial.

Aside from a ceremonial ground turning, the event will be attended by John Reynolds, former Federal Advisory Commission chairman for the Flight 93 National Memorial; Greg Walker, Stonycreek Township supervisor; Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation; Patrick White, president of the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial; Emily Root Schenkel, cousin of Lorraine G. Bay and treasurer of Families of Flight 93; and Paul Murdoch, architect for the Flight 93 National Memorial.

There will also be an audio airing of the what the chimes will sound like once the Tower of Voices is completed next fall.

"That will be the first tme anyone will hear the audio rendering of the chimes," said Stephanie Loeb, visual information specialist with the National Park Service.

Parking for this event will be near the Visitor Center, and people will be shuttled to the ceremony location, Loeb said. Those attending should wear proper footwear and prepare to stand, as there will be very limited seating.

At 7:30 p.m., the annual luminaria will be carried to the Wall of Names and placed below the names of the passenger and crew members from Flight 93 on the Memorial Plaza.

The memorial will have special late hours until 9:30 p.m. for this night only.

All events are free and open to the public. Loeb encourages those who plan to attend to arrive early and keep the weather in mind as each ceremony will take place outdoors.

Every year, Loeb said, the families and friends of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 consider each piece of the anniversary observance events, from keynote speakers to the music selection.

"They're integral with all of the planning," she said.

The United Airlines plane was one of four hijacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, with the others crashing into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon.

After Flight 93 took off from Newark and hijackers circled it back toward Washington, D.C., an unknown number of passengers apparently took action and tried to make their way into the plane's cockpit, prompting al-Qaida hijackers to down the plane in a vacant strip mine rather than the U.S. Capitol or another high-profile location.

Many people gathered to make a makeshift memorial at the crash site until elected officials took action to create the national memorial that now includes the Wall of Names, Visitor Center and walkway that traces the flight's final path.

​Jocelyn Brumbaugh is a reporter for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @JBrumbaughTD.

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