The memorial site is still quite young, and in the process of being developed into a beautiful park. Many parts of the park are undergoing tree plantings and landscaping. Their will be 40 memorial groves, with a walking path, the creation of a visitor center, and reforestation and landscaping of the grounds. I expect that, when finished, it will be quite lovely. As it is, the portion that is now open is incredibly moving and touching. There are large informational panels explaining the events that day,
a large marble memorial wall with the names of all those who died,
and a small center where people can leave their thoughts as a lasting tribute.
Along the walkway, there are benches, and places where people have left a variety of items in memorium.
When we left there, we stopped at the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, a few minutes away. The chapel was closed by the time we got there, but even the grounds themselves were lovely and heartbreaking.
Just a few short months after the nation was rocked with the 9/11 tragedy, Somerset was once again in the national spotlight, as 9 miners were trapped in the Quecreek Mine. Over five days in July 2002, efforts were made to rescue the miners, until, miraculously, all 9 miners were rescued. It was an incredibly inspirational story of faith and mankind helping each other, at a time when we so desperately needed it. The site has been transformed into a monument to celebrate and remember the story of the rescue.
As someone who has a coal miner in our family, this was an incredibly chilling site to visit. The bravery of these miners, and the determination of the rescuers is hard to comprehend.
As you can imagine, we were pretty emotionally drained, and we spent the two hour drive home talking about what we saw, what we remember from these events, and simply trying to process the gravity of both situations. I plan on returning to both sites again someday, to see the progress that has been made and to spend more time reflecting on what happened, and the mercy of the God that saw us through that time.
I took a lot of really amazing and touching pictures that day, so feel free to view the rest of the set here.