The Trail of Fallen Heroes in Somerset County is a driving tour that connects four memorials dedicated to the heroes of Flight 93 and the subsequent Global War on Terrorism.
When the United States was brutally attacked by radical Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2001, one of the first battles in what would become known as the Global War on Terrorism was fought in the skies over Somerset County.
On that morning, the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 fought back against their radical Islamic hijackers, thwarting the terrorists’ attempt to use the airplane as a missile against the United States Capitol.
Almost immediately after the events of September 11, 2001, a makeshift memorial sprang up near the Shanksville crash site, and visitors began leaving mementos and hand-made tributes to the passengers and crew of Flight 93.
Now, 20-some years later, four memorials related to this event and the aftermath are located near Shanksville in Somerset County.
In addition to the federally-funded Flight 93 National Memorial, three privately-funded memorials exist within a short driving distance of the crash site.
Each memorial honors the Fallen Heroes in a unique way, and all four can be visited in a single day, provided you know where to look for them.
To follow this Trail of Fallen Heroes driving tour yourself, read on as I provide a brief description of and directions to each of the four memorials.
I’ve even created a downloadable version of the route map pictured earlier – simply click on the button below to open the map in a new window, then use the “Send directions to your phone” option to email or text the map to yourself.
Click on the blue text links below to view more in-depth articles/photo galleries for each of the four memorials.
1. The Flight 93 National Memorial
Stop number one the the Trail of Fallen Heroes driving tour is the Flight 93 National Memorial, consisting of numerous distinct areas, structures, and monuments spread out over several thousand acres of land.
The Tower of Voices is both an auditory and visual tribute to the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93, located near the entrance to the memorial.
The Visitor Center at the Flight 93 National Memorial features exhibits that tell the story of how the passengers and crew of Flight 93 fought back against their radical Islamic hijackers, within the context of the greater terrorist attack against America on September 11, 2001.
The Wall of Names is composed of 40 white marble panels, each inscribed with the name of a passenger or crew member of Flight 93.
A 17-ton sandstone boulder near the Hemlock Grove marks the actual crash site of Flight 93.
There is only one entrance to the Flight 93 National Memorial, and that is located along Route 30 (the Lincoln Highway) at 6424 Lincoln Highway, Stoystown, PA 15563.
You can view my in-depth article and photo gallery of the Flight 93 National Memorial HERE.
2. The Remember Me Rose Garden
Stop number two along the Trail of Fallen Heroes driving tour is the Remember Me Rose Garden, a living tribute to the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93.
“The Families of Flight 93,” a nonprofit corporation formed by the families of the Fallen Heroes, purchased this land and donated the 13 acres on which the Remember Me Rose Garden now sits.
The largest feature of this living memorial is a compass-shaped floral garden spanning 280 feet.
Encircling the fountain are 40 rocks, each engraved with the name of a hero on Flight 93.
The Remember Me Rose Garden is situated along Route 30 (AKA the Lincoln Highway), just a quarter-mile east of the entrance to the Flight 93 National Memorial.
3. Patriot Park
Stop number three along the Trail of Fallen Heroes driving tour is Patriot Park, the future home of a permanent memorial intended to honor all those who died in the line of duty while serving the United States military in the Global War on Terrorism.
Patriot Park will eventually feature the Gold Star Memorial Plaza at its heart, bearing the names of the Fallen Heroes on gold brick pavers.
In the interim, the Field of Heroes Flag Display (a temporary placeholder until the privately-funded Gold Star Plaza is built) is very moving and absolutely worth a visit.
The Field of Heroes contains more than 7.000 flags, each representing a member of the U.S. military who died serving America during the Global War on Terrorism.
Patriot Park is located just a half mile west of the entrance to the Flight 93 National Memorial, along the Lincoln Highway (Route 30).
4. The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel
Stop number four along the Trail of Fallen Heroes driving tour is the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, a place to reverently reflect on the courage and heroism of the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93.
Located approximately 9 miles from the Flight 93 National Memorial, the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel is the privately-funded brainchild of one man – Reverend Alphonse Mascherino.
Using his own money, tenacity, and the help of many volunteers, Rev. Mascherino was able to convert an abandoned Lutheran church into a nondenominational memorial chapel one year after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001.
The 14-foot high, 16-ton Flight 93 Crew Monument sits in back of the chapel.
The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel is located 3 miles west of Shanksville, at the intersection of Coleman Station Road and Stutzmantown Road (or 1504 Stutzmantown Rd, Friedens, PA 15541 if navigating by GPS).
You can check out my in-depth article and photo gallery of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel HERE.
Collectively, the four memorials along the Trail of Fallen Heroes honor the bravery, service, and sacrifice of those who died on and after September 11, 2001, in what has come to be known as the Global War on Terrorism.
Each memorial is unique in its own way, and all four are well worth visiting and supporting.
Hopefully, this Trail of Fallen Heroes driving tour I’ve created encourages you to visit each of these four memorials, and give them the time and attention they deserve.
The Glessner Covered Bridge near Shanksville is located just minutes from all four destinations described in this article.
21 Must-See Attractions in Somerset County is your guide to even more great things to see and do in the region.
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