Twenty Years Ago

Twenty Years Ago Please be sure to check the PHMC Events Calendar for information on upcoming programs (in-person and virtual). I've included highlights for the coming week below. The Trailheads Rec Room pages to the right of your screen offer an array of online content generated by Trails of History sites. Also, if you're looking for a Covid vaccine provider, check out and enter your zip code.

Please note that staff and volunteers at Commonwealth of PA worksites, including the PA Trails of History, are wearing masks while indoors. Visitors are encouraged, though not required, to do so as well.

Chain link fence with flowers, toys, flags inserted as tribute to passengers and crew of Flight 93. Two large pieces of plywood painted white have signatures all over them. A large sign in the center says "Our Prayers Are With You."
Tributes at the Temporary Memorial to the passengers and crew of Flight 93 in Somerset County, PA (PHMC staff photo)

I was with my family at Ocean City, Maryland - my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, my nephew and niece (their brother was born a month later). My brother had gone back to Baltimore for meetings the night before. He called that morning to tell us we should turn on the tv. Those of you old enough to remember know what we saw. My mom and sister-in-law and I took the kids, who were nearly 4 and 2-and-a-half, to Assateague to see the horses and get them away from the tv. My retired journalist dad, ever the news junkie, remained at the house to watch things unfold. We heard reports of one tower collapsing on the car radio, which I think we then turned off. While we got the kids a snack, we spoke with a Secret Service agent who was cutting his family vacation short to return to work. My brother, his meetings now cancelled, made his way back to Ocean City later in the day. We learned that a family friend, a flight attendant who regularly flew the route that crashed into the Pentagon, had flown to Los Angeles the day before. She was safe, although she'd lost colleagues and friends and didn't return home to Virginia until flights resumed a few days later. We tried to balance keeping the news on with sheltering the little ones from it. At the time, my nephew was going through a period of worrying about monsters. As we all sat on the porch that night, he asked "Are there monsters in the world?" We tried our best to reassure him, and ourselves, that we would keep him safe.

Remembering September 11 on the Trails of History

The State Museum of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania State Archives opened an exhibit this week featuring the handwritten field notes of Col. Paul J. Evanko, who was head of the Pennsylvania State Police on September 11, 2001. These notes document the response to the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 outside of Shanksville, Somerset County. In 2016, Evanko donated his notes to the Archives, and they are on public display for the first time. In August, archivist Richard Saylor spoke with the State Museum's program director, Brad Smith, about the Paul Evanko Collection and the exhibit (Witness to History on YouTube). The exhibit will be on view at The State Museum during regular operating hours through January 2, 2022.

The summer issue of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine includes a piece by Rich Saylor about the Evanko collection, an article by Peter Durantine titled "The Man for the Moment: Tom Ridge and the 9/11 Inflection Point," and a Trailheads piece about the role of the Somerset Historical Center in collecting and preserving tribute items left at the temporary memorial to Flight 93 that quickly sprang up near the crash site.

The Pennsylvania Military Museum is hosting a series of talks this weekend related to the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001. Tomorrow (Saturday, 9/11), Jennifer Bennie, who served as a combat aviator, will present "Naval Aviation in the Greater War on Terror" at noon, and MG John Gronski (Ret.), former Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Europe, and Commanding General of the 28th Division, PA National Guard, will present "The 28th Division, Combatting Terrorism" at 2 pm. Saturday's talks are in-person at the museum. On Sunday, Sept. 12, SW2 Charles Johnson, currently a Naval Reservist and museum educator at the Erie Maritime Museum, will present an online talk, "Seabees in the War on Terror" at 2 pm. Seating for Saturday's events is first come, first served. You can register for Sunday's event via Zoom. Visit the museum's website for additional information.

Brandywine Battlefield will hold their traditional Remembrance Ceremony tomorrow (Saturday) on-site starting at 6 pm. The event commemorates the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, and the events of September 11, 2001. Please visit Brandywine's website for details.

Other Upcoming Events (in-person and virtual)

Today, September 10
  • Mountain Craft Days (in-person): Somerset Historical Center, 10 am-5 pm today through Sunday, tickets $9 for adults (SHC Facebook page for details)
  • Learn at Lunchtime (in-person and virtual): Pennsylvania black bears, The State Museum of PA, 12:15-12:45 pm, included in regular admission or join via Zoom (info and SMOP Zoom registration)
  • Commemoration of the Battle of Lake Erie (virtual): Erie Maritime Museum and U.S. Brig Niagara, events throughout the day on social media, wreath-laying ceremony beginning at 5:30 pm (EMM Facebook event).
  • Battlefield Paranormal Tour (in-person): Bushy Run Battlefield, 6:30 pm-1 am, tickets (advance sales only) are $20 (BRB Facebook event for info and tickets)
Sunday, September 12
  • Online bidding starts (virtual): Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, now through Sept. 18 (online auction to preview and bid)
  • Living History Sunday (in-person): Conrad Weiser Homestead, noon-4 pm (CWH website for details)
  • Gallery Walk (in-person): The State Museum of Pennsylvania will be one of the stops, noon-5 pm (SMOP website for info).
  • Living History Theater (in-person): Pennsbury Manor, presented at 12:15, 1:45, and 3:15 (site open noon-5 pm), included in regular admission (Pennsbury website for details)
Tuesday, September 14
Wednesday, September 15
  • Ask A Curator (virtual): Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum curator Jennifer Royer will take your questions via PHMC's Twitter account as part of this worldwide social media event, 10 am
  • Explore! (in-person): PA industrial towns, The State Museum of PA, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, for kids in grades 3-5 and included in regular admission (Explore! info)
  • What's in a theme? PHMC Virtual Collections Showcase (virtual): this month's theme is music, 7-8 pm (VCS link for Zoom registration)
Thursday, September 16
  • Curiosity Kids (in-person): kids in grades K-2 are invited to learn about structures, The State Museum of PA, 11:30 am-12:30 pm, included in regular admission (Curiosity Kids info)
  • PA History: Read It, See It (virtual): make a virtual visit to Cornwall Iron Furnace, hosted by State Library of PA, noon-1 pm (Read It, See It link for Zoom registration)


Post a Comment