Flight 93 Seedpod Memorial.

Flight 93 Seedpod Memorial

Field review by the editors.

Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Lost in the media glare surrounding the nearby Flight 93 National Memorial is this oddity, unveiled only eight months after the crash in front of Shanksville-Stoneycreek School. It's a 7.5-foot-tall cluster of metal seedpods-on-stalks that have human hands bulging out of them -- a pleasing blend of Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The unnamed memorial was the brainstorm of Cornell Companies Inc., a Texas-based builder and operator of private prisons (At the time, Cornell was trying to get permission from Pennsylvania to build a federal prison in Clearfield County). According to a company press release, the memorial was meant to honor all of the students and adults at Shanksville-Stoneycreek School who pitched in and helped in the aftermath of the crash, which happened just a mile away. "Cornell could not let this display of heroism become a mere footnote to the history of the larger event."

Flight 93 Seedpod Memorial.

The corporation picked Jan Loney, a local metal artist, to build the sculpture. She in turn enlisted students, faculty, and even janitors and lunch ladies from the school to press their hands into modeling clay, then transferred the handprints onto the seedpods.

The completed memorial was dedicated with much fanfare on May 17, 2002. Shanksville-Stoneycreek School invited President George W. Bush to attend; he didn't, but the Pennsyvania Director of Homeland Security did.

The memorial was supposed to be surrounded by nine large stones, each inscribed with an inspiring quote, including the then-ubiquitous "Let's Roll!" and one from President Bush. If they were ever set in place, they're gone now. The only stone that remains is one crediting the sculpture to Cornell Companies Inc.

Flight 93 Seedpod Memorial

Address:
Corner Stone Rd, Shanksville, PA
Directions:
East edge of town, on the north side of Hwy 1004/Corner Stone Rd. Turn into the entrance of Shanksville-Stoneycreek School, and drive up next to the building; the memorial is there.
Admission:
Free
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Nearby Offbeat Places

9/11 North Tower Steel Cross9/11 North Tower Steel Cross, Shanksville, PA - < 1 mi.
Flight 93 Memorial ChapelFlight 93 Memorial Chapel, Friedens, PA - 3 mi.
Flight 93 National MemorialFlight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, PA - 5 mi.
In the region:
World's Steepest Railway for Cars, Johnstown, PA - 21 mi.

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