by David Sisler

Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha (R) introduced legislation Friday which would allow a federal memorial to be built honoring the passengers who died when the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pa., September 11.

“The people on Flight 93 were courageous and heroic in giving their lives to bring down that airplane before it could reach its intended target in our nation's capital,” Murtha said in a story by CNSNews. “Hundreds, if not thousands of additional lives would have been lost and our government would have been disrupted if this attack had been carried out as planned.

“I think it’s quite clear that the crash site has national historical significance,” he said. “It is the first site in America where citizens successfully fought back and stopped terrorism.”

Murtha said the project has attracted donations totaling $1 million so far, and he expects it to be completed with both private and government money.

Jimmy Marker, the chairman of the board of commissioners in Somerset County, Pa., said Flight 93's crash was a turning point in modern history.

“The current war against terrorism essentially started in the sky above Somerset County, when the forty passengers and crew members of Flight 93, aware of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, made the decision to fight back,” Marker said.

“We may not know what truly happened on board that plane, but we do know this: Thanks to the people on that plane, Washington was spared.”

Jennifer Price, whose mother and stepfather died on Flight 93, said the memorial would carry special importance for the families of the victims.

“Unequivocally, we all believe that this area near Shanksville, Penn., is the final resting place of our loved ones,” Price said. “That is where all of us will go when we want to say goodbye, or when we want to say hello.”

Although no one has asked me, to Congressman Murtha’s proposal, I give a one hearty “YES” vote.

I also offer an unsolicited idea for the design of the memorial – a representation of that Boeing 757 flying upwards in a gesture of victory. And, of course, prominently display the names of the flight crew and the passengers. That moment was, indeed, the moment when America began to fight back.

There is one correction that I must offer, gently and with respect, to the comment made by Ms. Price, that the field where the plane crashed “is the final resting place” of their loved ones.

The grave is not the final resting place.

In 1996, we buried my Dad. In 1999, we buried my Mom. Actually, we buried the bodies where they lived. And their friends and neighbors cannot understand why my brother, Kyle, and I, refuse to make pilgrimages to their graves. The reason is simple: the real Melvin Sisler, the real Elizabeth Sisler are reunited with the God they loved and served. We buried only empty shells, esteemed to be sure, but empty. And those bodies, old, and frail and worn out, will indeed rest, as Job said, “all the days of [their] appointed time, until [their] change comes.”

There is coming a change.

There is coming a resurrection.

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout,” Paul said, “with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and remain will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

There are honored bodies, bodies of those we loved, buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery, just outside of Loch Lynn, Maryland.

There are honored bodies, bodies of men and women who were dearly loved, remembered in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

But those resting places are not final. Final belongs to the Lord God Almighty.


Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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