2010-08-12 / Local & State

Laura Bush To Speak At Pa. Flight 93 Anniversary

By JENNIFER C. YATES
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Former first lady Laura Bush will speak at an event marking the ninth anniversary of the crash of Flight 93 during the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the National Park Foundation announced Friday.

Bush, who is former honorary chair of the foundation, has been to the site in western Pennsylvania before and family members of the 40 passengers and crew who died there said they are pleased to welcome her back.

“Mrs. Bush was with us shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11. In the midst of our shock and grief, she shared with us her calming presence and genuine compassion. We will always have a special place in our hearts for her,’’ said Gordon Felt, president of the Families of Flight 93.

Bush said in a statement that she’s honored to speak at the site and that we “must never forget the brave sacrifice of these extraordinary men and women.’’

Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when hijackers took it over on Sept. 11, 2001. It crashed in a field near Shanksville, about 60 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, killing everyone aboard.

Neil J. Mulholland, president and chief executive of the National Park Foundation, said Bush coming to Pennsylvania reminds everyone “how important this place is to Americans, and people around the world, as we honor all of those lost on Sept. 11.’’

The announcement was made a day before a joint meeting of the Flight 93 Memorial Task Force and the Flight 93 Federal Advisory Commission. The task force is disbanding after the weekend meeting since other groups, including the National Park Service, are performing much of the work the group once did.

Construction on a permanent memorial is under way and will include a chapel with 40 chimes symbolizing each of the victims at the entrance. The first phase of the 2,200 acre memorial is expected to be dedicated in time for the 10th anniversary of the crash in 2011.

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