With the words "Let's roll" — the command issued by United Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer to lead a passenger revolt — U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and 39 victims' relatives and dignitaries turned shovels of dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday for a permanent national memorial. Forty passengers and crew died when the plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, about 65 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. The government intends to have the first phase completed by Sept. 11, 2011 — the terrorist attacks' 10th anniversary. Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was hijacked with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol, the 9/11 Commission found. Passengers rushed down the airliner's aisle to try to overwhelm the hijackers after learning of the coordinated attacks. The commission concluded the hijackers downed the plane as the hostages revolted. It was the only one of four hijacked planes that did not take a life on the ground.
The USS New York, built with steel from the rubble of the World Trade Center, was put into Navy service Saturday as a symbol of healing and strength. "No matter how many times you attack us, we always come back," Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said at the amphibious assault ship's commissioning. "America always comes back. That's what this ship represents." He spoke on a Manhattan pier where hundreds of Navy officers and sailors joined first responders and families of Sept. 11 victims. "I hereby place the USS New York in commission," Mabus announced. The 7 1/2 tons of steel debris from ground zero had been melted down to form the bow as "a symbol of our unshakable resolve; this is a city built of steel," said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The USS New York will be open to the public before returning to its home port of Norfolk, Va., on Thursday.
A memorial to honor a Sept. 11 victim from a small northwestern Connecticut town has been halted by the unexpected conflict arising from his father's insistence it say his son was killed by "Muslim terrorists." Town officials in Kent are balking, saying it would be inappropriate to single out a religious group in a project on town property and paid for with taxpayer money. The plaque to be erected outside the town hall is on hold. Peter Gadiel is criticizing town leaders for being too politically correct, and says he's frustrated about what he calls a growing trend to soften the reality of the Sept. 11 attacks by not mentioning a word about terrorism on victims' memorials. Gadiel's 23-year-old son, James Gadiel, was working for the Cantor Fitzgerald brokerage firm in the World Trade Center.