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June 19, 2013

Flight 93 photo to sail with Somerset

JOHNSTOWN — Valencia McClatchey’s haunting “The End of Serenity” photograph will soon be enshrined aboard the USS Somerset.

McClatchey, a Stoystown resident, snapped the photo minutes after United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a Somerset County field during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The picture of an ominous mushroom-shaped smoke plume rising into a clear blue sky has become one of the most iconic images of the fateful day.

She is donating a framed copy of the picture to the U.S. Navy, which plans to display it in the USS Somerset’s museum.

“I am very happy and very proud,” McClatchey said.

The USS Somerset has been designed as a tribute to the county. The vessel includes wood harvested from along Route 219, road signs depicting the names of county locations and a bow stem made from a dragline near the crash site.

“The life expectancy of the ship is 50 years, so this picture will be floating around the world for the next 50 years,” Somerset County Commissioner John Vatavuk said.

The ship is scheduled to be commissioned at Philadelphia in January.


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