In the works for years, a memorial to the victims of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash on Sept. 11, 2001, is finally open to the public a day before the 14th anniversary of the attacks. The Flight 93 National Memorial, designed by Beverly Hills, Calif.–based Paul Murdoch Architects and Charlottesville, Va.–based Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, includes a $26 million visitor center and museum dedicated to the 40 passengers and airline crew that died when they forced down their hijacked plane, which terrorists had rerouted towards Washington, D.C., into a reclaimed strip mine in rural Shanksville, Pa.
The 2,200-acre site opens years after the completion of memorials honoring victims of the Sept. 11 attacks at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, which were available to the public on the eighth and 10th anniversaries of the attacks, respectively. A number of factors delayed the Flight 93 memorial project, which received congressional approval in 2002. According to The New York Times, it took years to source the open land for the memorial and raise the construction funds, which came mostly from private donations. A two-stage design competition launched subsequently, in 2004. The winning design was chosen from more than 1,000 entries.
On its website, Paul Murdoch Architects describes the national park as "a new type of memorial, designed as an entire landscape through which visitors experience a sequence of natural features developed to commemorate the actions of the passengers and crew of Flight 93." The firm has designed other monuments, including Washington, D.C.’s Constitution Gardens. It also submitted an entry for the recent World War I National Memorial competition, which was not selected as a finalist.