Designs unveiled for 9-11 memorial

Saturday, February 5, 2005

PITTSBURGH -- Five designs were unveiled Friday for a memorial to the 40 passengers and crew who died Sept. 11, 2001, on hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 -- including groves of trees, reflecting pools, man-made lakes and a 2 1/2-mile-long "Bravery Wall."

A panel of 10 people, including victims' relatives, chose the finalists from 1,011 designs submitted by established firms and novices alike.

Because only a fraction of the victims' remains were recovered, the designs are all low-key in relation to the reclaimed strip mine and family farms surrounding the site.

Flight 93 was the only of four hijacked planes that did not kill anyone on the ground when it crashed. The official 9/11 Commission report said the hijackers crashed the plane as passengers tried to take control of the cockpit.

Most of the designs include a path leading through the rolling hills and woods to the crash site, where tall grass and wildflowers have replaced the scorched terrain where the plane hit.

One design includes a 2 1/2-mile-long "Bravery Wall" imprinted with the names of the victims; another has a covered trail that replicates in miniature the airplane's jagged flight path from Newark, N.J., to Cleveland and back toward Washington, D.C. Another includes a small chapel.

The crash site near Shanksville, about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, and the surrounding area totals 2,200 acres.

"It is a very complicated problem and a very complicated site. It is not just a city block or building," said Jeff Reinbold, manager of the project for the National Park Service. "The jury was struck by was the power of the land out there. It is very moving as it is, and it is a design challenge to try to make sure it (the memorial) doesn't get lost."

The design must also balance the public and private. The site will be a national memorial but relatives have said they would like a private area to visit and grieve.

The five final designs were posted on the memorial project's Web site Friday evening and will be available for public viewing in Somerset, about 70 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, on Saturday.

The finalists have until June 15 to submit detailed plans; a second panel will announce a winning design by Sept. 11, the fourth anniversary of the attacks. Two weeks later, the design must be submitted to Congress and the Interior Department, which will oversee development.

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