Vice President Pence

Vice President Mike Pence delivers the keynote speech at the Flight 93 National Memorial 16th Annual Remembrance Ceremony on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.

Vice President Mike Pence will return to Flight 93 National Memorial next week to take part in the 18th annual observance of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

A release from the National Park Service Friday says Pence will be joined by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt at Wednesday's ceremony, which honors the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93 who lost their lives in disrupting an attack on the nation's capital the day of the attacks.

Pence spoke at the annual observance ceremony two years ago, saying the passengers and crew of Flight 93 were personal to him, crediting them with saving lives that day and possibly his.

Then a Congressman, Pence recalled fleeing the U.S. Capitol building on Sept. 11, 2001, for an office across the street, where he learned a hijacked airplane was likely headed.

Instead, Pence said he received word that United Flight 93 and its four al-Qaeda hijackers had crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania due to the quick response of the passengers and crew of that plane.

"I will always believe that I and many others in our nation's capital were able to go home that day and hug our families because of the courage and sacrifice of the heroes of Flight 93," Pence said in his 2017 remarks. 

This year's annual observance will begin at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday at the Memorial Plaza adjacent to the Wall of Names.

At 10:03 am – the moment Flight 93 crashed – the names of the passengers and crew members will be read and Bells of Remembrance will be rung in their memory. 

Along with remarks from Pence and Bernhardt, the ceremony will include music from River City Brass Band of Pittsburgh and remarks from the Rev. Paul Britton, Families of Flight 93; Gordon Felt, Families of Flight 93 and Mitchell Zuckoff, author of "Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11." 

Entrance to the memorial will close at sunset Tuesday and reopen at 6 a.m. Wednesday. The Flight 93 Visitor Center will be closed during the ceremony and open at noon Wednesday.

The public is invited to attend the hour-long ceremony and is encouraged to arrive at least 90 minutes prior to its start.

Visitors should plan to arrive early to allow time for parking, a shuttle ride to the site of the ceremony and to go through security. No backpacks or umbrellas will be permitted.

Signage and staff will direct visitors to parking areas and buses are available to accommodate wheelchairs. Shuttles from parking areas to the ceremony site will begin running at 6:15 a.m. 

The event will be held rain or shine. Visitors should wear appropriate footwear, as the ceremony will take place in a field, which will require walking on mown grass and uneven ground.

In the event of severe weather, details of the program could change. 

For more information on this year's observance, including weather updates, visit

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

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