Reporting Peter Haskell
WASHINGTON (AP / WCBS 880) - Families of those who died aboard United Airlines Flight 93 asked lawmakers and Obama administration officials on Wednesday to set aside federal money to complete a 9/11 memorial at the crash site in Pennsylvania.
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The dedication of the first phase of the $62 million Flight 93 National Memorial was held in September. The memorial will honor the 40 passengers and crew members who died when the airliner crashed in a field near Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001. Passengers fought terrorists for control of the hijacked plane that was targeting Washington, D.C.
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The meetings began Wednesday and will continue for the next few days. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is among the government officials that the group is expected to meet with.
“We need to remind them that we are not done,” said Gordon Felt of Remsen, N.Y., whose brother, Edward Felt, participated in the revolt by other passengers and crew. “We still have a ways to go.”
Felt is president of Families of Flight 93.
Public and private donors have contributed $52 million, but officials say $10 million more is needed to complete the project’s first phase, which will include a visitor center, an education center and an entry portal with high walls framing the plane’s flight path.
Family members said they are optimistic about getting the needed funding despite the pressures to cut budgets in Congress.
“We certainly recognize that budgets are tight,” Felt said. “That’s why from the beginning we have been working with the government and raising funds from the private sector as well.”
Patrick White, vice president of the Families of Flight 93, said about 1.4 million people have visited the memorial, which has become a popular stop for school groups on their way to and from visits to Washington.
“It’s a story that continues to resonate with the American people,” said White, whose cousin was killed on the flight.
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