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My Visit to the Flight 93 Crash Site

by Steve Salvi

The movie about United Airlines Flight 93 made me think about my visit to the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, PA, in August of 2005.  For those of you who don't recall, the United Airlines jet was one of the jets hijacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001.  

Flight 93 initially departed from Newark, New Jersey and was scheduled to fly to San Francisco, California.  However, after the commercial airliner was hijacked, it changed course near Cleveland, Ohio and headed southeast in the direction of Washington, D.C..  The 9-11 Commission concluded that the hijackers had intended to fly the jet into the White House or U.S. Capitol.  If not for the passengers and crew that fought the terrorists for control of the airliner, the plane may have crashed into the White House instead of a Pennsylvania field.  There were no survivors.

Other than the make-shift memorials to the passengers and crew that died that day in this rural part of PA, there's not much more to see than a distant crater in the ground. Because the area is now considered sacred ground, visitors are warned away from walking in the field under threat of arrest. Sometime in the future there will be a permanent memorial built here. I left the site somewhat angry and resolved to do my part to prevent another terrorist attack.

What also bothered me about my visit was that the national park staff, who provide information and interpretation services about the crash, provided no information or context of the crash in light of the 9-11 Commission findings.   There is no mention of the 9-11 Commissions call for action to correct lax  policies by federal and state governments which made it much easier for the terrorists to carry out their attacks.

The park staff interprets the crash of Flight 93 solely as a one-time historical event, as if it was just a tragic transportation accident.  But it it wasn't an accident, it was one in a series of Muslim al-Queda terrorists attacks.  It was also a warning that our public officials have been lax in their duties to keep illegal aliens and terrorists out of the US.  Slack state policies even put drivers' licenses into the hands of the terrorists so they could legally drive to the airport to implement their attacks. 

I queried the staff about what they new about the 9-11 Families for a Secure America (9/11 FSA). 

[Note: The 9/11 FSA was founded by Peter and Jan Gadiel after their son was  killed (murdered) in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The 9/11 FSA's membership includes a number of surviving family member of  9/11 victims.  The group has been working since 2001 to educate and warn the public and government officials that another 9/11 will occur again if the US doesn't tighten its security.  The 9/11 FSA has advocated for securing US borders, stopping illegal immigration, tightening state driver's licensing rules, and eliminating the visa lottery, to name a few of its legislative advocacy efforts and recommendations.]

What did the national park staff know about 9/11 FSA?  Nothing.  The Flight 93 park staff had no knowledge of the group, or their proactive agenda to prevent another 9/11- like attack.  The staff seemed oblivious to the fact that Islamic terrorists have declared war on the US.  To the park staff, the story of Flight 93 is over--but it's not.  The al-Queda leaders who gave the hijackers their orders remain at-large, and probably have other subordinates in the US now, waiting for their orders to initiate another attack in the sky or on the ground..

The indifference of the Flight 93 park staff is symbolic of why the US is not much more secure than it was before 9-11.  For example:

Some states still grant driver's licenses to foreign nationals illegally in the US;  Our border is as porous as ever, as demonstrated by the estimated 6,000 illegal foreign nationals who are smuggled into the US daily;  The 12,000,000+ million illegal aliens already in the US are so unafraid of our inept immigration system, they openly burn the US flag and protest in US streets for "rights" they don't have; Local public officials (including those in Ohio) continue to acknowledge the Mexican Matricula Consular Card as verifiable ID, even though the FBI has testified in Congressional hearings that the Matricula is not a verifiable form of ID; and Congress has also voted to continue the visa lottery program, even though it opens the door to potential terrorists to become permanent US residents.  

If the passengers of Flight 93 had attempted to take control of Flight 93 as it flew over my hometown, Cleveland, the hijackers may have decided to crash the plane into one of the city's skyscrapers, rather than a rural Pennsylvania field. Clevelanders' were spared a horrific disaster, yet the city's public officials continue to oppose common-sense security initiatives.  One example is the City of Cleveland's acceptance of the known to be  fraudulent Mexican Matricula Consular ID card.  The Matricula can be obtained by terrorists and illegal aliens who can use it to create an alias, obtain services, and avoid detection by law enforcement. 

In conclusion, if the victims (and hero's) of Flight 93 are not to have died in vain, it's our job to make sure that the crash is put into proper context.  We also need to forcefully tell our local, state and federal public officials that they need to stop pandering to illegal aliens and begin using their political influence to demand that our immigration laws are enforced.  Otherwise, our local, state, and national security will continue to erode, and another major terrorist attack will become an unwelcome certainty.

Note: Steve Salvi is founder and executive director of Ohio Jobs & Justice PAC, a non-partisan educational civil rights and advocacy organization focusing on important public policy issues that affect Ohio and the nation.  OJJPAC's web site address is www.ojjpac.org.


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