The Remember Me Rose Garden
On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked commercial airplanes full of our fellow Americans and crashed them into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon. Terrorists on a fourth plane, intended for the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., were themselves attacked and overwhelmed by the heroic passengers of United Flight 93. The plane crashed in a quiet field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, taking the lives of all 40 passengers and crew members on board. In sacrificing their own lives, they saved the lives of countless others.
Just ¼-mile east of the entrance to the Flight 93 National Memorial built at the crash site sits the “Remember Me Rose Garden.” Many acres were purchased by the families of the heroes of 9/11 as a buffer zone around the park. The families donated 13 acres in 2009 for the construction of a rose garden, to be a “Living Tribute” to the memory of their loved ones. “Remember Me Rose Garden” was established as a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization to make this dream come true. It is the highest elevation in the park.
The centerpiece of the Remember Me Rose Garden is a “Compass Rose” design constructed of limestone and granite boulders gathered from the site. The circle of the compass is 40 feet in diameter, in honor of each of the 40 heroes.
Each of four points from the compass circle, oriented north, south, east and west, are 93 feet in length to memorialize Flight 93. Once fully completed, the compass design will include 40 concrete benches, a water-filled reflecting pool, and hundreds of rose bushes. It is already visible from planes flying overhead at higher than 30,000 feet.
The first memorial ever erected at the crash site itself was a life-sized, 16-foot wooden cross. In the days following the crash, it offered comfort to the families as they gathered to await news on the fate of their loved ones. The cross has since been moved to the Rose Garden, where it is illuminated at night and on permanent display.
Around the perimeter of the Rose Garden, a ½-mile walking trail provides visitors with the opportunity for a quiet walk and reflection. Teakwood benches are placed every hundred feet or so for rest, prayer, and meditation.
The Remember Me Rose Garden is open to visitors 365 days a year, and provisions are being made to host activities such as musical performances, scouting service projects, faith-based gatherings, and similar events.
Phase 1 is Complete, Phase 2 has Begun
In 2021, we were able to finish “Phase 1” of the Rose Garden – just in time for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It was a very special “unveiling,” with many hundreds of visitors and universal acclaim for the quiet beauty of the garden and its function as a “living memorial” to the heroes of Flight 93.
This is what the Rose Garden looked like in June 2021:
We made tremendous progress in the 5 short months leading up to 9/11, and at the end of Phase 1 there were four main features to the Rose Garden:
• The Compass Rose (with its points oriented north, south, east, and west – visible from 30,000 feet – and large rocks engraved with the names of each of the Heroes of Flight 93)
• The Cross (the first memorial erected at the crash site, and since moved to the Rose Garden)
• Ryan’s Trail (named for Ryan Cenk, whose Eagle Scout project placed benches around the ½-mile perimeter of the Rose Garden property)
• The Families’ Rock (acknowledging the donation of the property by the Families of Flight 93)
Our Board of Directors (led by Clay Mankamyer) is a hard-working team, but we could never have accomplished Phase 1 alone. We were blessed with thousands of dollars in donations from individuals and foundations, creative and talented contractors, businesses who donated roses and plants or who discounted their services generously, friends and associates in media and fundraising, and hundreds of volunteers!
Hopefully, you followed our progress through Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RememberMeRoseGarden or this GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/f/remember-me-rose-garden-flight-93, and we invite you to do the same again this year.
Phase 2 Plans
We are commencing “Phase 2” of the development of the Rose Garden. In addition to maintaining all that we accomplished in 2021, we’re making plans for numerous enhancements and additions, including:
• Improvements to walking trails to accommodate foot traffic, wheelchairs, and handicapped-driven vehicles
• The planting of wildflowers in the field behind the Compass Rose
• The leveling and seeding of our “stage” area, in preparation for onsite events beginning this summer
• The creation of a small picnic grove
We would really appreciate your help again in 2022! In addition to financing our Phase 2 plans, we have a $75,000 loan to pay off from Phase 1, so your continuing donations will be much appreciated! You can donate here or you can send a check to Remember Me Rose Garden, P.O. Box 193, Shanksville, PA 15560.
We hope you will get a chance to visit the Remember Me Rose Garden at least once this year! We would love to meet you in person and show you around this beautiful Living Memorial to the Heroes of Flight 93! Thank you again for your support!