Flight attendants press lawmakers to contribute to Pa. 9/11 Memorial

September 9, 2013
Visitors to the temporary memorial to United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., on the morning of May 2, 2011. (AP Photo/ Gene J. Puskar)
Visitors to the temporary memorial to United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., on May 2, 2011. (Gene J. Puskar/AP)

When last we checked, back in May 2012, the memorial outside Shanksville, Pa. where United Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001 was a whopping $8 million short of meeting its proposed $70 million  budget.

The National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, has since closed the gap to about $1.7 million and has raised more than $32 million from contributors. (The rest of the money has come from the commonwealth of  Pennsylvania and federal coffers.)

We should note that the Pentagon Memorial to victims there was completed five years ago. The World Trade Center Memorial was completed on Sept. 11, 2011. Shanksvile, without the deep-pocketed defense industry here or the financial industry in New York, has struggled to raise the money to complete work there, though the memorial is open for visitors.

Now let’s see, were it not for the heroic actions of the 40 passengers and crew on Flight 93, many of the estimated 5,000 people in and around the Capitol that morning would have been killed or injured..

That would include countless Hill staff, tourists and surely a substantial number of well-heeled lobbyists. Oh, and a fair number of the 535 members of Congress who were up there as well.

But it appears that barely 15 contributions came from lawmakers who were there that day or the 300 who have been elected to the House and Senate since then.

So more than 30 uniformed flight attendants plan to walk the halls of Congress on Tuesday, dropping off  letters appealing for help from each member, most all of whom are strong supporters of voluntary giving.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants and other unions are also  re-soliciting their combined 100,000 members for a final push to close the funding gap and finish the memorial.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.
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Emily Heil | September 9, 2013