Visiting the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel Near Shanksville

The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel 3 miles outside of Shanksville, PA.

The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel is a place to reverently reflect on the courage and heroism of the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001.

The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel at the intersection of Coleman Station and Stutzmantown roads
The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel at the intersection of Coleman Station and Stutzmantown roads.

Located approximately 9 miles from the Flight 93 National Memorial (operated by the National Park Service), the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel is the privately-funded brainchild of one man – Reverend Alphonse Mascherino.

Tributes and mementos inside the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.
Tributes and mementos inside the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.

Using his own money, tenacity, and the help of many volunteers, Rev. Mascherino was able to convert an abandoned Lutheran church into a non denominational memorial chapel one year after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001.

The pulpit area of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.
The pulpit area of the chapel.

And while the Flight 93 National Memorial now does and exceptional job of preserving the hallowed ground which is the actual crash site, it was not officially dedicated until a decade after the event.

View from the Wall of Names looking towards the Visitor Center at the Flight 93 National Memorial.
View from the Wall of Names looking towards the Visitor Center at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

During that first decade after the crash, the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel served (and still serves) as a place for family and friends of the passengers and crew to gather and honor those who died on 9/11.

Quilts donated to the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.
Quilts donated to the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.

As such, it houses an impressive display of donated memorabilia and tributes to the heroes of the Flight 93 story, and is a must-see when visiting the much-larger Flight 93 National Memorial nearby.

Mementos donated by the family of Flight 93 First Officer First Officer Leroy Homer Jr.
Mementos donated by the family of Flight 93 First Officer First Officer Leroy Homer Jr.

How to Find the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel

The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel is located at 1504 Stutzmantown Rd, Friedens, PA 15541.

A map showing the locations of the Flight 93 National Memorial, Patriot Park, and the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.
A map showing the locations of the Flight 93 National Memorial, Patriot Park, and the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.

It’s located 3 miles west of Shanksville, at the intersection of Coleman Station Road and Stutzmantown Road.

Side view of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel along Stutzmantown Road.
Side view of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel at the intersection of Coleman Station Road and Stutzmantown Road.

The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel is open 12-5 most days, is staffed entirely by volunteers, and operates on donations (no admission fees are charged – a donation box sits inside the front door).

Donated tributes and mementos at the FLight 93 Memorial Chapel.
Donated tributes and mementos.

Inside the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel

Immediately inside the front door of the chapel you’ll find the Meditation Room, which features biographies of all 40 crew and passengers aboard Flight 93, written by family members.

Meditation Room at the Flight 93 Chapel near Shanksville.
Meditation Room at the Flight 93 Chapel near Shanksville.

Countless mementos left by visitors decorate every nook and cranny of the chapel.

Mementos left by visitors to the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.
Mementos left by visitors.

A beverage cart identical to the one used by the passengers and crew to fight back against the terrorists was donated by United Airlines.

A beverage cart like the one passengers on Flight 93 used to thwart the radical Islamic terrorists who hijacked Flight 93.
A beverage cart like the one passengers on Flight 93 used to thwart the radical Islamic terrorists who hijacked the plane.

Some of the earliest tributes to the heroes of Flight 93 were created by Shanksville locals, and are preserved at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel as well.

One of the many homemade tributes that created by locals immediately after the Flight 93 crash near Shanksville.
One of the many homemade tributes that created by locals immediately after the Flight 93 crash near Shanksville.

Outside the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel

In front of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel is the impressive “Maggie’s Tower” and the “Thunder Bell”.

Facing the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel from Stutzmantown Road.
Facing the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel from Stutzmantown Road.

Both were generous gifts to the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.

Plaque on Maggie's Tower which holds the Thunder Bell at the Flight 93 Chapel.
Plaque on Maggie’s Tower which holds the Thunder Bell.

The Thunder Bell weighs nearly half a ton and was cast in 1860.

The Thunder Bell at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel near Shanksville, PA.
The Thunder Bell at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel near Shanksville, PA.

Visitors are encouraged to ring the bell four times for the four planes hijacked on 9/11.

Looking up at the Thunder Bell through Maggie's Tower at the Flight 93 Chapel.
Looking up at the Thunder Bell through Maggie’s Tower .

The Flight 93 Crew Monument

The 14-foot high, 16-ton Flight 93 Crew Monument sits in back of the chapel.

The 14 foot-tall Flight 93 Crew Monument located behind the Flight 93 Chapel.

The names and pictures of each crew member are featured on the monument.

Flight 93 Crew Memorial on the grounds of the Flight 93 Chapel near Shanksville.
Flight 93 Crew Monument.

While 4 granite benches surrounding the monument are inscribed with the names of the passengers.

"A Grateful Nation" bench near the Flight 93 Crew Memorial outside Shanksville.
“A Grateful Nation”…
"Will Forever Honor" bench at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel outside Shanksville.
“Will Forever Honor”…
"The Courage and Patriotism" bench near the Flight 93 Crew Memorial outside Shanksville..
“The Courage and Patriotism”…
"Of the Flight 93 Passengers" bench behind the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.
“Of the Flight 93 Passengers”.

World Trade Center Remnant

Also in back of the chapel you’ll find a 3,000 lb. remnant of the World Trade Center.

A remnant of the World Trade Centers in New York City.
A remnant of the World Trade Center in New York City.

This was donated and installed at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel in 2006, at the same time as the Flight 93 Crew Monument.

Description of the World Trade CEnter remnant located at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.
Description of the World Trade Center remnant now located at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.

Final Thoughts

Literally hundreds of thousands of visitors have stopped at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel since it opened in 2002.

"Thunder on the Mountain" sign in front of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.
“Thunder on the Mountain” sign in front of the chapel.

While it may be overshadowed now by the much larger Flight 93 National Memorial, this early grass-roots effort to honor the bravery of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 is absolutely worth a visit.

The Peace Pole outside the FLight 93 Chapel near Shanksville.
The Peace Pole outside the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel near Shanksville.

When asked about why he was so driven to open this chapel, Reverend Mascherino was quoted as saying simply “”I wanted to honor faith”, and to that end the beauty and simplicity of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel is an absolute success.

Inside view of the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Reverend Mascherino vision brought to fruition.

Nearby Attractions

As mentioned earlier, the Flight 93 National Memorial encompasses the actual crash site and the National Park Service’s Visitor Center.

The Flightpath walkway at the Flight 93 National Memorial.
The Flightpath walkway at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Officially dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Flight 93 National Memorial features both indoor and outdoor exhibits and memorials.

A first responders display inside the Flight 93 Memorial Visitor Center.
A first responders display inside the Flight 93 Memorial Visitor Center.

One of the most recent additions is the Tower of Voices.

The 40 wind chimes that make up the Tower of Voices at the FLight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County PA
The 40 wind chimes that make up the Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.

For reasons you can read below, the Tower of Voices is unique in all the world, and reason enough to revisit the Flight 93 National Memorial, even if you’ve been there before.

Informational plaque about the Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville PA
Informational plaque about the Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Patriot Park near Shanksville is 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.

The Field of Heroes at Patriot Park near Shanksville. Pennsylvania.
The Field of Heroes at Patriot Park near Shanksville.

Like the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, Patriot Park is privately-funded, relying on donations rather than the financial backing of the United States government.

Looking out over the Field of Heroes on a September morning.
Looking out over the Field of Heroes on a September morning.

Patriot Park is located less than half a mile from the entrance to the Flight 93 National Memorial, along Route 30.

Entrance to Patriot Park along Route 30 near the Flight 93 National Memorial.
Entrance to Patriot Park along Route 30 near the Flight 93 National Memorial.

The Glessner Covered Bridge is located less than 10 minutes from the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel.

Fall foliage around the Glessner Covered Bridge in the Laurel Highlands.
Fall foliage around the Glessner Covered Bridge near Shanksville.

Mount Davis – the highest point in Pennsylvania is also located in Somerset County.

Valley fog over the Casselman River as viewed from Mount Davis Observation Tower
The view from Mount Davis in Somerset County.

If you happen to be visiting the area in October, 20 Fabulous Fall Foliage Destinations in the Laurel Highlands will show you why this part of PA is consistently ranked one of the best places in the United States for experiencing spectacular autumn views!

An October morning at Beam Rocks in the Forbes State Forest.
An October morning at Beam Rocks in Somerset County.

The Forbes State Forest encompasses more than 50,000 acres in western PA, including waterfalls, scenic vistas, and the highest point in Pennsylvania!

Cole Run Falls surrounded by fall foliage.
Cole RUn Falls in the Forbes State Forest.

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Rusty Glessner is an award-winning photographer, lifelong Pennsylvanian, and creator of the PA Bucket List travel blog.

2 COMMENTS

  1. As always, beautiful write up and pictorial on the Flight 93 Chapel. It is an amazing place to visit and honor the courage and heroism of the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11. I will never forget. I live 15 miles from the site and felt the crash of Fl 93 shake the earth under my feet.

    • Thanks Linda – I feel like those of us from Somerset County in particular have an obligation to the passengers, crew, and to history itself to keep their story alive, and this is my way, however small, of fulfilling that obligation.

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