What strikes one first about the site of the crash of Flight 93 is how impossibly remote it is. A reasonable drive from Pittsburgh, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., set among forested hills full of resorts and towns, the plane came down in the open fields of a former surface mine, safely removed from habitation.
Unless, as has been speculated, they were shot down where they would do the least damage, the hand of the god is the only explanation. The minute luck that planted them here, where only those on the plane could be hurt, is almost impossible to grasp.
Unlike Gettysburg, where centuries of rain and sun, where replanting and plowing and growing have put the ghosts to rest, they still drift on the breeze in Shanksville.
I was there on a rainy weekday- perhaps 10 people were there. Prayer felt difficult, but I recited a psalm, and the kaddish, and yes, a Muslim prayer as well, inscribed on a scrap phonetically. I placed a pebble on the end of the monument (wondering why there were no pebbles there but mine), to mourn the suffering of the world that was highlighted by this terrible act, and to honor the terrible bravery of the passengers and crew who died.