Flight 93 memorial to honor those who fought back

Shanksville, Pennsylvania
National Park Service Park Ranger Wendy Clay walks past mementos left on the fence by visitors who came to look over the crash site of Flight 93 on May 2, 2011, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
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Among the 9/11 ceremonies next month will be the opening of a memorial to United flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

CBS News correspondent Chip Reid reports that it's a tribute to the passengers and crew who fought back.

Ten years after 9/11, the 40 passengers and crew on United Flight 93 who perished in this field have taken their place in history.

"We can't afford to forget, not only the individuals, but their collective actions on that day," says Gordon Felt, president of the Families of Flight 93.

Photos: Flight 93 memorial site
Visiting Shanksville

Gordon Felt's big brother, Ed, a computer software designer, was one of a dozen on board who made phone calls from the plane. Felt called 911 from a bathroom and spoke to police.

Armed with information from calls about hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the passengers and crew voted to storm the cockpit. An operator heard passenger Todd Beamer famously say the words: "Let's roll."

"While our loved ones lost their lives, we feel they won the battle, in that, twenty minutes down the road, if that plane gotten through to Washington, it could have been driven right into the Capitol building," Gordon Felt says.

The focal point of this site is the spot where four Al Qaeda hijackers, fighting off a rebellion, crashed the Boeing 757 jet, which had been en route from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco.

A 17-ton boulder of local sandstone marks the spot. National Park Service Superintendent Keith Newlin took us on the path that will allow visitors to see the impact zone from a short distance.

"That rock represents the final struggle. It represents a victory," Newlin says.

California Architect Paul Murdoch won the competition to design the Flight 93 Memorial.

"There's a serenity to this place, which has to do with its open, rolling hills quality," Murdoch says.

The memorial will be using all 2,200 acres - a space twice as large as Manhattan's Central Park. Eventually, there will be a 93-foot tower with wind chimes, visible from the road approaching the site. A white marble wall - inscribed with the victims' names - stands along the flight path.

"I'd like a certain sense of reverence and awe here. We hope that everybody takes away whatever they need to," Murdoch says.

Nearly a thousand people a day visit this site, and a large percentage of them are families - parents teaching their children the lessons of Flight 93.

We like to talk "about how people used their phones and called their families and let them know what was going on, and they took down the hijackers. Yeah, (it's) pretty special," says Stacey Wade.

Stacey Wade and her husband, Scott, came with their kids from central Ohio, to see where sacrifice saved lives.

"I think they were very brave," says their son, Tyler Wade.

"To families certainly, it's our sacred ground. And it's a battleground," says Gordon Felt.

It's a place where the fighting back began.

The Flight 93 memorial is still not fully funded. To find out about making a donation, go to www.honorflight93.org.

  • Chip-Reid_bio_140x100_bw.jpg
    Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.