On the eve of the 8th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, a fundraising effort put together by state Senator Jane Orie celebrated a milestone.
Senator Orie, an Allegheny County Republican, says when she initially thought up the “Hearts of Steel” campaign, she hoped to raise around 10,000 dollars for a Flight 93 memorial in Somerset County.
The check she handed over to National Park Foundation officials at the state Capitol was much larger—a total of 1.1 million dollars.
Orie oversaw an effort to sell stainless steel bracelets remembering the passengers who confronted hijackers before they could crash United 93 into either the White House or the Capitol.
"I think the symbolism is in the bracelets themselves. They’re made of solid stainless steel, which cannot taint, tarnish or break, just like the American spirit. These bracelets remind us all that the courageous actions of a few people can change the world."
More than 100-thousand bracelets have been sold so far.
Flight 93 National Memorial Superintendent Joanne Hanley says America’s national parks owe their existence to private contributions.
"All were formed, and all were supported, by the caring generosity of people like you, people like us. And it is only because of that generosity and that caring and support that they continue today."
General Tommy Franks, the honorary co-chair of the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign, said the 1.1 million dollar contribution is going toward a good cause.
"A national park to join Gettysburg and others in this wonderful state. As we remember those who, in fact, did not lose their lives on 9-11-01. They gave their lives on 9-11-01."
National Park officials hope to dedicate the permanent Flight 93 memorial two years from now, on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.