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August 31, 2013

The Flight 93 Advisory Commission disbands after 11 years

SOMERSET — The Flight 93 Advisory Commission is disbanding nearly 11 years after it was created to help develop a national memorial at the site where a hijacked plane that crashed in Somerset County during the Sept. 11 attacks.

The 15-member group, appointed by the secretary of the Interior, was commissioned by Congress and signed into law on Sept. 24, 2002, by then-President George W. Bush.

The advisory commission helped plan and design the National Park Service memorial near Shanksville where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed, killing all 40 passengers and crew. A federal investigation concluded four Muslim hijackers likely hoped to crash the plane into the U.S. Capitol but couldn’t when some passengers and crew fought them for control of the aircraft.

The group has met four times a year since being sworn in nearly 10 years ago. Its last meeting will be Sept. 10, the day before the 12th anniversary of the attacks, the Daily American of Somerset reported.

The meeting is one of several events the day before the anniversary, including groundbreakings for a learning center and a separate visitor center at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

“It is a celebration of a unique and complicated partnership that worked incredibly well together and has accomplished two things: a fully appropriate memorial for the heroes on the flight and designing it as part of the National Park system,” commission Chairman John Reynolds said.

“This is a sign of success,” said Jeff Reinbold, the National Park Service superintendent at the memorial.

Reynolds said the legacy of those aboard the flight is secure.

“It will be a national park as long as the nation endures,” Reynolds said. “People will be able to come to the memorial and understand what happened on Flight 93 and what happened on Sept. 11, 2001.”

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