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Fields, Forests, and Fences - Slide Show files are large and will take a moment to download.
Laurel McSherry, Terry Surjan, Luke Kautz, Jason Ploszaj, Anson Chen, Marita Roos, Teresa Durkin, Randall Mason, Charles Cartwright, Lisa Cutshaw, Peter Marsh

For generations, people throughout the world have made sense of themselves in landscapes末the gardens and fields, homes and cities末built into and out of raw land. Yet as a term or category, landscape is imprecise. For some, landscapes consist only of natural features, while for others they are a tapestry of what we inherit and what we make. It is these ensembles of the ordinary and extraordinary, the permanent and fleeting末the secluded valleys and the city streets末that contribute to the course and the character of a society. Memorials form a necessary part of our collective landscape. Like memory itself, memorials and memorial practices vary widely. Those memorials that speak to a society痴 intentions differ from the places that become sacred when historical events occur to or within them.

One of the first questions a visitor may ask of any memorial is what does it mean? For us, the myriad inscriptions found at the Temporary Memorial were tangible proof that meaning and memory are not the same for all of us. Like landscapes, meaning and memory are more fluid than absolute.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, in a secluded valley a group of people sacrificed their lives for a common good. The collective actions of the passengers and crew of United Flight 93末men and women, friends and neighbors, strangers末marked this valley as a place of national sorrow and international significance. Since that day, thousands of others have traveled here to give something of themselves to honor those they never knew. Together they teach us much.

Marking does not require words, or wood, or stone. Sites can be marked through action. Relationships can anchor people to a place, people to each other. Marking can be social as well as sensual. Memorials may be less about what they look like than what they do.

A national memorial has already been created through action written on this land and into its landscapes. We believe any future markings on this site should continue these traditions of shared work and self-sacrifice. Our proposed memorial expression, and the materials by which it is made, is guided by a belief that meaning can emerge when we join with others and honor a place through social as well as physical means. It is our dream that the gestures of many and the passing of time will continue to inscribe this landscape of fields, forests, and fences as a place of remembrance, valor, and hope.

The Hemlock Belt
Defined by elevations identical to those of the Sacred Ground, the Belt is a near-continuous ribbon of hemlocks and mature hardwood trees traveling the length of the Memorial landscape. Out of respect for those who perished, the Sacred Ground末the 47-acre precinct which includes the impact zone and debris field末 will remain beyond the reach of the general public. Providing a tangible axis末a datum末both within and outside the site, the Belt offers visitors a topographical and symbolic connection to this hallowed and restricted place. Beginning at the site痴 northwestern boundary, the Belt interconnects the site痴 five management zones and terminates along its southwestern edge at Lambertville Road. Ranging in width from 40 to 1125 feet, the Belt is characterized by areas of spatial compression and expansion; changing physiographic and vegetative conditions for retreat and reflection. Motorists on the Lincoln Highway and Lambertville Road experience the Belt before entering the site. Family members enter the Sacred Ground from the Belt. For neighbors, the Belt compliments the grain of the agricultural landscape, and offers places and paths for slow walking and quite reflection.

The Memorial Fence and Common
Encircling the Bowl and creating a 祖ommon,? the Memorial Fence continues the powerful form of public tribute and inscription of the existing Temporary Memorial. Distinguished by opportunities to attach messages to its surface, the fence serves as a site of accumulation, personal and ever-changing as the memories of events are for each individual. On arrival, visitors will be provided with a small aluminum tag (looped with wire and resembling those used by foresters), which can easily be embossed with a pencil or a pen and attached to the fence wherever they choose. Of simple construction末cedar posts joined 8? on-center by three tiers of three-braid wire末the fence travels through various planted and programmatic conditions (from field to forest, public to private) and so its local qualities and the density of its markings will vary across its 1400-foot length.

Cairn Field
Originating at the tribute Red Maple within the precinct of the Sacred Ground, the Cairn Field spans the length and width of the site from the Lincoln Highway to Lambertville Road. Located roughly 1400 feet apart and following cardinal directions, individual cairns exist within each of the eight vegetative communities occupying the 1,300 acre Memorial core. Varying in shape, size, and height each begins as an embedded sandstone plinth; a flat surface onto which found stones left over time might form small piles or cairns. Composed of 28 separate locations, beneath each plinth a concrete vault will be located interring a portion of the rendered hemlock mulch. As sites of containment, the cairns will stand in constant remembrance of the events witnessed by the site. The dimension of the grid末47 acres末equals that of the Sacred Ground and debris field.

Memorial Glade
For many of us, home is the measure of every other place. The importance of home and homeland shaped the design of a Memorial Glade within the boundary of the Sacred Ground. Formed of yellow birch, violets, and ferns, the Glade remains a place of honor, solace, and reflection limited only to family members. Forty sandstone markers are inscribed with the names, hometowns, and birthdates of those who perished here on September 11, 2001. Individual markers will be designed with the wishes of each family. We suggest, however, an overall arrangement of markers reflecting the geographical distance between the Glade and individual hometowns, and that each of the 40 markers are rotated to individual homes. The tribute red maple, planted by the families, serves as the originating point for a line of latitude flowing west to east through the Glade. Permanently interred beneath this single maple are the unidentified remains presently under the care of the Somerset County Coroner. Nearby, a sandstone stele is inscribed with the May Sarton poem All Day I Was With Trees, which captures the consoling power of the natural landscape. Barrows, created from the relocated earth presently forming a mound west of the Sacred Ground, will protect the memorials and retain the privacy of all within.

The Sacred Ground

Located in the southernmost limit of the site, the Sacred Ground is a broad 47-acre precinct incorporating the impact zone and debris field. As the final resting place of the passengers and crew of United Flight 93, this area remains a sanctuary and cemetery reserved exclusively for families and so beyond the reach of the general public. From a distance, however, the location of the Sacred Ground will be discernable in any season by a grove of yellow birch trees within a glade of native hemlocks. To visitors walking along the Memorial Fence or observing the landscape from the roof garden or dragline knoll, the Sacred Ground will appear as a golden line within the dark green of the proposed Hemlock Belt. A stone boundary wall, located along the northern reaches of the Sacred Ground, will allow for the growth of the yellow birches within and beyond its limits over time.

The Visitor Center

On September 11, 2001, the fields and forests comprising the present Memorial site were already in a process of reclamation. In turn, we recommend a continuation of current reclamation efforts within the context of an overall ecological restoration strategy that maintains and enhances native plant communities and critical wildlife habitat areas.

Located in a saddle between the northern and western knolls, roughly 1.5 miles from the Lincoln Highway entrance, the Visitor Center is envisioned as an extension of the landscape葉opographically, ecologically, and experientially. The building is nested into the knoll blending the relationship between natural and constructed landscape as well as programmatically providing visitors with entry from parking above to the rooftop garden providing views of the elements that mark the landscape and create remembrance including the Memorial Fence, the Cairn Field, the Belt and the Memorial Glade. Within the body of the building, the sky vault brings natural light into a central gathering space directly illuminating a portion of the fence from the Temporary Memorial, set glazed beneath the floor. Lined with benches along the walls, a recessed ledge provides a place for visitors to leave tributes for the individual passengers and crew.

Disturbed Harmony (F)Light Crescent of Embrace Fields, Forests, and Fences Memory Trail
© Copyright 2006. Flight 93 Memorial Project. All Rights Reserved. A solution by Neighborhood America.