Congressional medal part of Flight 93 ceremony

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Congressional medal part of Flight 93 ceremony
A fire burns Friday Oct. 3, 2014 about 3 p.m. and grew to include both the Flight 93 park office and park headquarters, according to a Somerset County emergency dispatcher. (AP Photo/Courtesy National Park Foundation)
SHANKSVILLE, PA- SEPTEMBER 10: New trees and windmills are shown near the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center Complex during a media tour of the complex September 10, 2014, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The complex includes a visitor center, Flight Path Walkway and learning center. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Rick Sarmiento, center, embraces Karen Bingham, left, and Nancy Root, right, during a visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, Shanksville, Pa. Karen Bingham's son Mark Bingham was a passenger on Flight 93, as was Nancy Root's cousin Lorraine G. Bay. The memorial marks the spot where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed 13 years ago in a reclaimed strip mine some 75 miles southeast of Pittsburgh after passengers fought back against hijackers. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
A flag is placed at the base of the Wall of Names that contains the names of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, Sept.10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Family and friends of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 walk past the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., as they arrive for a Service of Remembrance Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, as the nation marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 touch the Wall of Names containing the names of the 40 passengers and crew who perished in the crash of Flight 93. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
A flag is placed at the base of the Wall of Names that contains the names of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, Sept.10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Yachiyo Kuge, the mother of Toshiya Kuge who was a passenger on Flight 93, places origami birds near his name, at the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. Thursday marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Yachiyo Kuge, the mother of Toshiya Kuge who was a passenger on Flight 93, stands near his name on the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
One of 40 luminarias in memory of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 is carried to the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
40 luminarias, in memory of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93, are carried to the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
40 luminarias, in memory of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93, are carried to the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Candles in memory of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93, are carried to the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. Thursday marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Candles in memory of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93, are carried to the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. Thursday marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Fire at the Flight 93 National Memorial in western PA has burned 3 administrative buildings. http://t.co/T3uxLTFW6w http://t.co/BT9XLvBVUm
No injures have been reported at the Flight 93 Memorial fire, per dispatcher http://t.co/ftxhDjhwZa http://t.co/RHm6TtAPSI
These are items left at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
This is the view from the Flight 93 Visitors Center Complex, of the impact area, marked by the boulder, center rear, of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Gordon Felt, who lost his brother Edward Felt on Flight 93, looks at his tie during a tour of the Flight 93 Visitors Center Complex that is under construction overlooking the crash site of Flight 93 at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 in Shanksville, Pa. Construction is scheduled to be completed by late 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Sarah Kowalczyk, 6, from Lake Village, Indiana, holds a giant flag while participating in a sunset memorial service at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
ADDS LOCATION - Visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial hold a giant flag as they participate in a sunset memorial service at sunset on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, in Shanksville, Pa. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
SHANKSVILLE, PA- SEPTEMBER 10: Visitors walk along the wall of names of passengers who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the attacks at the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center Complex September 10, 2014 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Ceremonies are scheduled for tomorrow. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
SHANKSVILLE, PA- SEPTEMBER 10: Visitors walk along the wall of names of passengers who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the attacks at the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center Complex September 10, 2014 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Ceremonies are scheduled for tomorrow. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
SHANKSVILLE, PA- SEPTEMBER 10: Logan Hurwitt, 11, of Bergen County, New Jersey, touches the name of his uncle, Jeremy Logan Glick, who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the attacks at the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center Complex September 10, 2014 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Logan will read his uncle's name as part of ceremonies tomorrow. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
SHANKSVILLE, PA- SEPTEMBER 10: Visitors walk along the wall of names of passengers who perished in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the attacks at the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center Complex September 10, 2014 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Ceremonies are scheduled for tomorrow. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Kevin E. Newlin, left, and Jeff Reinbold of the National Park Service lead a media tour of the Flight 93 Visitors Center Complex construction site at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
This is a portion of the construction site at the Flight 93 Visitors Center Complex at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
SHANKSVILLE, PA- SEPTEMBER 10: The walls of the visitors center of the Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center Complex is shown during a media tour of the complex September 10, 2014, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The complex includes a visitor center, Flight Path Walkway and learning center. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Keith E. Newlin of the National Park Service rings one of the bells of remembrance during a Service of Remembrance at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, as the nation marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Sam Pulia, mayor of Westchester, Ill., and a former police officer of the same town, mourns over the name of his cousin, New York firefighter Thomas Anthony Casoria, who was killed in the South Tower in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, prior to the the memorial observances held at the site of the World Trade Center in New York, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. This year marks the 13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Andrew Burton, Pool)
Yachiyo Kuge, the mother of Toshiya Kuge who was a passenger on Flight 93, places origami birds near his name, at the Wall of Names at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. Thursday marks the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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BY JOE MANDAK

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. (AP) - The 40 passengers and crew who died when hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were to be honored in a new way during the 13th anniversary ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

A Congressional Gold Medal awarded to those who died at the site of the memorial will be presented Thursday as part of the ceremony. Bells will toll and the names of the victims will be read at 10:03 a.m., the moment the airliner crashed as passengers fought with hijackers for control of the jet.

Thursday's ceremony also comes as the National Park Service marks progress on a $17 million to $23 million phase of the project that includes a visitors' center and a learning center, which officials hope will boost the number of annual visitors to the memorial from 300,000 to more than 500,000.

"We have to make sure there will be a place to come in the future to learn about what happened," Gordon Felt said just after dawn Thursday, near the tent where the memorial ceremony was to take place. Felt's brother, Edward, was among the passengers killed.

Dennis Hastert, who was Speaker of the House of Representatives when the attacks occurred, was scheduled to deliver the keynote remarks at Thursday's ceremony. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also was scheduled to attend.

The Congressional Medal will be on display at the memorial through Sunday. It will go on permanent display once the visitor's center opens, hopefully for the 14th anniversary. The same medals are being awarded at the World Trade Center and Pentagon sites, which were also ravaged by al-Qaeda-hijacked airliners that morning.

Rachel Stingis, 30, of Belle Vernon, was among the first spectators to arrive. Stingis had visited the site before the memorial was built, but never attended an anniversary ceremony. She said she was in high school at the time of the attacks and watched the coverage on television in class.

"Being a senior ready to start college I thought it was the end of the world," she said.

Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco when four hijackers took control, with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol. The 9/11 Commission concluded that the hijackers downed the plane as the 33 passengers and seven crew aboard the plant revolted.

A Memorial Plaza near the crash site consists of a white stone wall that traces the doomed plane's flight path, with each victim's name engraved on a separate panel. There are plans for a 93-foot-tall tower with 40 wind chimes.

While the memorial is a lasting legacy to those who died, Felt said it's also important for the families of those involved to gather at the site each anniversary.

"It really brings a sense of comfort to come together with other people who have suffered the same loss," Felt said. "It's difficult each year to reopen that wound, but at the same time it's important to remember."

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