September 11, 2014

9/11: 13 Years Later—2014




Today we pause to remember the 9/11/2001 events that altered so many aspects of the United States. My husband Monte and I live about 20 miles from where Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County. Below is a list of articles I’ve posted through the years since the tragedy. I hope you take time to read some of them on this day of remembrance. Click on the titles to access the complete articles.

All of the following articles are posted on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS except LMB RESIDENT’S SEPT. 11, 2001 STORY: Part 1 of 2 and The Twin Towers 

NOTE: The Westmoreland County Historical Society magazine being released later this month contains an in depth article on Flight of Valor, the music composition commissioned by the Somerset County Community Band. It ties in the roles many Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, residents took following the crash of Flight 93 in the adjacent county of Somerset.

NOTE: September 11 is also the birthday of my late nephew Todd James Jay. Keep my sister in your prayers today, too.

LMB RESIDENT’S SEPT. 11, 2001 STORY: Part 1 of 2

NOTE: This story is posted on the Laurel Mountain Borough newsletter site.

LMB resident John was working in one of the twin towers in New York City the morning of September 11, 2001. His story will be posted in the LMBoroLMPark Newsletter in three parts. To view photo illustrations taken by John, click on: September 11, 2001, John was in New York City working as a freelance sound recordist/video engineer. He had many clients in downtown New York, where he found most of his jobs. He also worked in Philadelphia and other places, but the New York work was most challenging.This Tuesday he was working at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (Company), a very large financial consultant company similar to J. P. Morgan. He’s worked there a half dozen times. They had a television studio they’d just built, completed in December 2000.They had called me to do audio or video engineering, John said, as usual—at the last minute. This particular time I was paged at home in Allentown at 4:15 September 10. Andy said he’d forgotten to book someone to shade cameras for a 9 a.m. show the next day, and asked if I was available. They do…

Flight 93 Tenth Anniversary 9/11/2011: Stories Retold

   We were in Italy at the Leaning Tower of Pisa when someone ran by yelling these words. Little did we know, at the time, that a plane (United Airlines Flight 93) had flown somewhat almost over our home in Stahlstown (Pennsylvania)… 

     As we continued our travels in Italy and Greece people were so kind to us. They showered their love on us with moments of silence, bottles of wine, and food. I was so taken aback by these expressions of love.

The above story was shared with us under a sunny sky, over buckwheat pancakes smothered in real maple syrup accompanied by sausage, having a conversation with Larry and Beth Thorn from Stahlstown (owners of Whispering Pines Antiques)…


The following is a description of the Flight 93 Crash Site Memorial formed spontaneously following the September 11 events. The scene evolved over the years, and is now being moved in preparation for a major memorial construction.

A small parking lot on the left side of Skyline Drive, Stoneybrook Township, has four Portapotties. Beyond them, on a distant hill, under high voltage lines spanning open fields, two obsolete cranes stretch skyward.

A parking area on the right roadside abuts the Flight 93 Temporary Memorial site.

Restrictions, enforced by the Somerset County Sheriffs Deputies, are posted: “No solicitation, concessions, brochures or advertisements; No installation of structure, permanent or otherwise; No planting of flowers, trees or shrubs; No loitering or overnight parking.”

A sign on a gray hut donated by the Assateague Island National Seashore requests Please do not write on this shelter or on any other surfaces at the temporary memorial. You may record your thoughts in our visitor’s book or on the blank cards provided.

Nonetheless, guardrails carry messages: Thank you for protecting us…GOD BLESS AMERICA; UNITED…

Flight 93 Temporary Site: Last (Two) Days

Today my husband Monte and I had an opportunity to visit the temporary Flight 93 Memorial, near where the plane crashed on that fateful day, September 11, 2001. Tomorrow, the temporary site will close and on Saturday the new, permanent, site will be dedicated.

We knew the temporary site had been moved for a third time since its inception to make way for the national Memorial. Because we hadn’t visited the site since 2009, and because of the upcoming Tenth Anniversary, we knew the entrance would be different than it was at our last visit.  We truly didn’t know where we were going, but we followed the signs through strange territory and found a parking space. When we arrived we had to walk

Somerset County (PA) Community Band Commissions Flight of Valor

Not many bands have music written especially for them, but in 2002 the Somerset County Community Band  commissioned “Flight of Valor,” a composition to honor the heroes of United Airlines Flight 93*.

     The band will perform Flight of Valor at the Flight 93 crash site at 2:00 p. m. on Sunday, September 11, following the Memorial Dedication service. Their performance will be at the entrance onto the walkway of the Memorial Plaza. The walkway leads to a stone listing the names of the Flight 93 victims.


At the beginning of the 21st century the Somerset County Community Band discussed  commissioning a piece of music for their fifteenth anniversary, or for or the 2004 Somerset Borough bicentennial. As the discussion evolved, the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States occurred. United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in Shanksville, not far from Somerset Borough. Many community residents were involved in the recovery process after the crash, and many lives were changed.

This catastrophic event changed the focus of the subject of the commissioned piece to honoring the victims of Flight 93.

Because the band had a lot of music written or arranged by James Swearingen, and he was a favorite of the director, Dan Croft, the discussion of who to approach to compose the music evolved in his direction.

The Capital University (Columbus, Ohio) music professor, who is also Department Chair of Music Education and one of several resident composers at the University, agreed to take on the task. The resultant piece, Flight of Valor, was completed in time for…

Flight of Valor: Honoring United Airlines Flight 93 Victims

As the Somerset County Community Band approached its fifteenth anniversary occurring in 2004, its board discussed commissioning a celebratory piece of music. Then the United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in their “back yard.” The band’s board changed its focus on the commission from its anniversary to commemoration of the 9/11 event. In 2002 they commissioned James Swearingen, from Capital University in Ohio, to compose the piece. Swearingen based his composition on a well-known hymn, It is Well with my Soul.*

It was in this darkness that the Community Band played Flight of Valor, which received a standing ovation.**


Jim Swearingen, a music professor, always wanted to create a composition around one of his favorite hymns, It is Well with my Soul. However, he was waiting for the right circumstance and setting.

Jim recognized that this hymn as a hymn of choice that is universally accepted during a period of grieving. “It has provided me comfort during these times.”

Then David Breen called him, asking if he would be interested in composing a piece honoring the victims of Flight 93.

“I knew immediately…it was a…

Should NYC Include Clergy in 10th Anniversary of 9/11?

The poll results were in: 94% of those polled thought New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg should reverse his decision to disallow clergy to take part in the 10thanniversary commemoration of the September 11, 2001, attacks. The remaining 6% agreed with the Mayor’s decision.

Perhaps this poll was taken questioning a conservative Christian population, but I highly doubt that the results would vary much across the United States. This is a country that, at least allegedly, claims to be…

1 Comment »

  1. Was that the same site we went to with you when we visited in PA 2 years ago, July 2012 ?

    Comment by Grace (&Fred) — September 12, 2014 @ 10:22 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

What is your opinion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: