Remarks by Governor Wolf at the Flight 93 National Memorial Service

September 11, 2015

Flight 93 National Memorial
Stoystown, PA


What happened in this area on this day fourteen years ago changed our world. And it changed the way we Americans think about that world.

It also reinforced some ways we think about each other. To this day it has made us think differently about who we are as a nation. And our place in our puzzled world and what we are capable of as human beings. Especially as a result of what the passengers and crew of Flight 93 did.

First, the events of 9/11 changed our view of the world. It certainly changed the way we think about America’s place in the world. After 9/11 we recognized that we were not separate and apart from the troubled world. We learned on that tragic day that we were in fact connected in ways we never imagined possible. We learned that the world outside was no longer “outside.”

What happened in New York City and right here on September 11, 2001 will forever be a part of who we are. There are few people whose hearts were not affected by what we saw on our television screens from New York City. The image of those twin towers burning seared us to our core.

And there are equally few who can ever forget hearing or reading about what happened on Flight 93. What might have been had Flight 93 gone where the hijackers wanted it to go must continue to haunt us.

And this brings us to the second thing we learned on September 11, 2001. It is that we are – each one of us – capable of doing remarkably selfless and heroic things. Because on September 11, 2001 a handful of people – passengers and crew – made a huge difference to the course of our history. What they did saved countless lives in Washington, DC.

What they did averted a terrible tragedy that would have taken place there had they not acted as they did. And what they did told us all a great deal about the potential nobility that lies within each of us. Their actions – the actions of ordinary people – on this day ennobled us.

It gave us a remarkable example of human behavior at its best.

It showed us what each of us is capable of doing. And, it elicited swift and effective reactions from the people around here.

From emergency responders. From area residents. From good leaders like Governor Tom Ridge who pledged the resources of the Commonwealth to provide what help it could. And from the folks at the National Park Service who understood that our nation needed to pay concrete tribute – in the form of this center – to the deeds of the passengers and crew of Flight 93.

So today’s memorial service is a chance for us to reflect on what these good people did. And it’s a good day to reflect on what it all means.

They acted nobly and bravely and voluntarily to a new world few of us were ready for. In doing what they did, they taught us something about what that new world might mean for us and what it might ask of us. And, in doing what they did, they showed each of us what good we are actually capable of doing.

Today, we remember what they did on September 11, 2001.

And we will be forever grateful. Thank you.


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