The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 20, 2013

Volunteers hope to 'heal' Flight 93 grounds

SHANKSVILLE — Volunteers from across the state and country gathered on a frigid, snowy Saturday morning at the Flight 93 Memorial.

They came to commemorate the sacrifice of the downed plane’s passengers and honor their resilience through the National Park Service and National Park Foundation’s reforestation effort, “Plant a Tree at Flight 93.”

The event, which is in its second year, will bring 150,000 new trees to the reclaimed mine site near the Shanksville memorial. For each day, over the course of the four-day project, 150 volunteers – 600 total – will dig and drop 35,000 saplings into the earth.

That ground used to be a forest and it needs to be touched by human hands, according to Patrick Angel, senior forester and soil scientist for the U.S. Department of the Interior. It’s currently in a state of arrested natural succession and, essentially, can’t produce life on its own. After tilling and human intervention, Angel said the healing can begin.

“These seedlings have a chance. Mother Nature has a chance to heal this ground,” he said. “Of course, these folks are doing that. They’re healing not only their hearts but also the land.”

Gov. Tom Corbett opened the proceedings and presented a sapling that had come from Gettysburg, which is marking 150 years since its historic battle.

He depicted the 40 heroes aboard Flight 93 as stalwart defenders of the American way of life.

“These are seeds that demonstrate the resistance that they put up and helped to ensure our nation’s freedom,” he said.

And many were eager to get to work, despite near-freezing temperatures and biting winds – another type of resilience on display Saturday. Angel said many of the volunteers’ faces are familiar.

“I thought it was such a moving experience the last time we were here,” said Frederick Ensle of McMurray, Washington County. “When I got the opportunity to come back, I knew I had to do it.”

Ensle once again brought members of his Boy Scout troop – teens who were just old enough in 2001 to understand the gravity of the attacks and who wanted to put their hands to work in preserving the victims’ memory.

“I just wanted to make some sort of memorial to it,” said Derek Taylor, 17. “This is pretty good – a living one.”

He and his workmate, 16-year-old Adam Shope, said they’d like to revisit the site one day years later, to see their efforts in bloom.

“And we could say that we were a part of it,” Shope said.

“I feel like this is kind of better than a cement memorial,” Taylor said. “Because it shows that life goes on, in spite of tragedies.

“It doesn’t just stop time.”


Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Early morning police raid in Prospect area leads to arrest warrant

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. this morning.

    April 18, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 18, 2014

  • new councilman Judge fills City Council vacancy

    A lifelong Johnstown resident who has never sought election to public office was named Thursday to fill the vacancy on City Council.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads