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February 8, 2013

Flight 93 bishop receives present

SOMERSET — A Washington, D.C., architect is honoring United Airlines Flight 93 and the chapel that bears its name.

Alan M. Hantman, 10th Architect of the Capitol, gave Bishop Alphonse Mascherino a 9-inch replica of the Statue of Freedom.

The 19 1/2-foot tall, 7 1/2-ton bronze figure, also called Armed Freedom, has graced the top of the Capitol Dome since 1863.

Hantman and seven others toured the memorial site near Shanksville in November and then visited the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel that Mascherino founded.

“They were so moved by what they saw and Father Al’s story,” said Carol Love, tour manager for the chapel.

Hantman was working at the Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001.

“The heroes of Flight 93 literally saved his life,” Love said.

The statue arrived last week.

Mascherino also has a framed letter from Hantman.

It reads in part: “Those who sacrificed their lives here on Sept. 11, 2001, saved mine, and those of many thousands of others at the U.S. Capitol building.”

Mascherino, who resides at In Touch Hospice in Somerset, was moved by the letter, Love said.

“He just stroked it,” she said.

“Then he kissed his fingers and touched it.”

Mascherino, who always desired a replica of the Statue of Freedom, was grateful when it finally arrived and stroked it gently, Love said.   

“It was really beautiful to watch,” she said.

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