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Posted at 02:53 PM ET, 09/07/2011

Sept. 11 still scars Shanksville

(See video below)


A memorial for Flight 93 in Shanksville, Penn. (A.J. Chavar)

The Post’s videographer A.J. Chavar reflects on his video memorial to Sept. 11.

I'm from Pennsylvania, and did a lot of my growing up in a small town.

I first visited Shanksville in high school. And nothing made the reality of 9/11 more clear to me than seeing the simple fence, decorated with memorials, that marked the site where Flight 93 had crashed, brought down by the heroics of the passengers who refused to let anyone but themselves be sacrificed.

The footage of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that I had seen on the news obviously hit home, but the impact of this tragedy on a small community showed me that what happened on Sept. 11 wasn't an attack on New York or D.C., but an attack on America — the America that was personal to me.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I showed up in Somerset county with my camera and notepad, but I wanted to focus on the idea of change. As Pastor Bob Way, of St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church in Shanksville, put it in our interview “you can't have a plane crash in your backyard — you can't have a national memorial being built in your backyard, without that life changing in some aspects.”

Shanksville has been inundated with visitors and press over the past 10 years, from all parts of the world. There's traffic in town now, and it will get worse in the days leading up to Sept. 11, 2011, when the National Flight 93 memorial will be dedicated. The town is forever altered from the sleepy, secluded village it once was. Now, it is connected to the world.

What I learned was that there was a great deal of change in Shanksville, but it was subtle change. If you drove down Shanksville's streets today you'd be greeted with the same town, the same people that you would have met a decade ago, and you might not even know life was any different. But for the residents, it is.

See more 9/11 coverage here.

Or come talk to Post reporters today in a live tweetup here.

By  |  02:53 PM ET, 09/07/2011

Tags:  Daily Catch

 
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