Lone Lawmaker Blocks Flight 93 Monument in Pa.
For emotional wallop, there are few rivals to the windswept, grassy field outside of Shanksville, Pa., where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.
But for three years, that field has made do with a makeshift monument while one member of Congress, Rep. Charles H. Taylor (R-N.C.), has blocked a $10 million request to buy the land for a permanent memorial to the 40 passengers and crew members who overpowered hijackers bent on crashing their jet into the Capitol or the White House.
The families of the Flight 93 passengers and crew will be in Washington tomorrow, this time intent on challenging the chairman of the House Interior Appropriations subcommittee, who oversees funding for federal acquisition of property. With a major motion picture on the doomed flight premiering tonight, a showdown on the issue is the last clash that embattled Republicans want.
"We need to build a memorial for these people," said Rep. William Shuster (R-Pa.), whose district includes Shanksville. "These 40 people were the first counterattack of the war on terror, and they were victorious. We owe them a great debt of gratitude."
For Taylor, a large landowner in the mountains of western Carolina, the issue comes down to principle: The federal government is already the largest landowner in the country, and he believes that no additional tax dollars should go to more land buying for this or any other memorial.
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