Hastert do­nates Capi­tol flag to Flight 93 memo­rial

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — For­mer House Speaker Den­nis Hastert gave the flag that flew atop the U.S. Capi­tol on 9/11 to the Flight 93 Na­tional Memo­rial on Thurs­day, say­ing the build­ing might not still be stand­ing if the plane’s pas­sen­gers and crew had not re­belled against four hi­jack­ers.

Hastert spoke to hun­dreds of fam­ily mem­bers, dig­ni­taries and spec­ta­tors at a cer­e­mony in a field in Shanksville, Penn­syl­va­nia, where the United Air­lines plane crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.

Hastert, who was speaker of the House on that day, said the do­nated Stars and Stripes has smoke smudges from the fire caused by another hi­jacked plane flown into the Pen­tagon.

“To­day that flag would not have been in ex­is­tence ... if not for the great he­roes who we’ll hold in our hearts for ever and ever,” he said.

Flight 93 was trav­el­ing from Ne­wark, New Jersey, to San Francisco when al-Qaeda-af­fil­i­ated ter­ror­ists took con­trol, with the likely goal of crash­ing it into the White House or Capi­tol. The 9/11 Com­mis­sion con­cluded the hi­jack­ers downed the plane in south­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia as the 33 pas­sen­gers and seven crew mem­bers re­volted. Two other hi­jacked planes de­stroyed the World Trade Cen­ter in New York.

The 13th an­niver­sary of the at­tacks comes as the Na­tional Park Ser­vice marks progress on a $17 mil­lion to $23 mil­lion phase of the Flight 93 memo­rial. Of­fi­cial hope the project, which in­cludes a vis­i­tors’ cen­ter and learn­ing space, will boost the num­ber of an­nual vis­i­tors to the site from 300,000 to more than 500,000.

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