Here is the lead to the story and photos by Post-Gazette staffer Steve Mellon that you’ll see at the link for the rest of the story.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Fred rolled northeast that Wednesday in August, ruining the prospects for water skiing, so Kirk Garber left his family’s vacation rental in Deep Creek, Md., and drove 60 miles north to the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County, Pa.
He couldn’t persuade any family members to join him. He traveled alone.
Shortly before 2 p.m., he parked near the memorial’s visitor center and walked along a black granite path leading to an overlook. Within moments, dark clouds overhead let loose their rain. The dozen or so people lingering over the view fled to nearby shelter.
Only Mr. Garber remained — his slender 88-year-old frame buffeted by a stiff breeze. In the distance, he could see the tree line where 40 passengers and crew members died in an effort to regain control of an airliner hijacked by terrorists. Those terrorists intended to crash the plane into the U.S. Capitol Building or the White House, the 9/11 commission would eventually conclude.
“I had to see it,” Mr. Garber said.
According to the National Park Service, Mr. Garber joined 687 others who visited the memorial on Aug. 18, 2021. Nothing special marked this day, other than the dark clouds and rain that kept attendance below normal. Two days later, the number of visitors would balloon to 2,500. The gloom stood in stark contrast to the stunningly beautiful weather on the day of the attacks. It did not, however, impede the flow of difficult memories.
Some of the day’s visitors gently ran their fingers across the names carved into white marble panels and recalled the shock and despair they felt 20 years ago, when horrific events that previously seemed inconceivable played out on live television.
Mellon’s powerful photos are below, then go to the link for the balance of the story.