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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

America Remembers Heroes of Flight 93

Aired September 11, 2002 - 05:40   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Ceremony will also be held this morning in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Of course that's where United Airlines Flight 93 went down. Passengers and crew are believed to have fought their hijackers and perhaps prevented their plane from reaching its intended target. There will be a memorial service held at that site at 9:30 this morning. The theme of the service is "A Time for Honor and Hope."
Our Carol Lin joins us live from the field in Pennsylvania where that plane crashed -- good morning.

CAROL LIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol.

Yes, it's promising to be a blustery day to match the mood here. It is promising to be a very solemn and dignified occasion.

And Suzy (ph) Hankinson, who is with me now, is one of the main organizers, in fact the main organizer of the event.

Suzy, thanks for joining us this morning. I know it's very early.

SUSAN HANKINSON, FLIGHT 93 COORDINATOR: You're welcome. I'm glad to be here. Thanks.

LIN: I was very touched by your description yesterday that you gave me about how involved the families have been in planning this ceremony.

HANKINSON: Yes, we've always felt that the families have a very strong say in everything that we do. We want to always do what's right and appropriate for them and try to balance their feelings as well as what the needs of the nation might be.

LIN: And one of the things the families told you is that they don't want this to be a political occasion and that has been the message to all the speakers, including the keynote speaker, Tom Ridge.

HANKINSON: Yes, absolutely. Again, the families, to them and to the community and the world, this is a memorial service. Many of the families have not even had the opportunity to be out at the site until the last few days. So we do, out of respect, want to maintain their dignity.

LIN: All right, 20,000 to 30,000 people expected and they're going to be hearing a very personal message from Sandy Dahl, the wife of Captain Jason Dahl from Flight 93. She was inspired by a trip that she took to the site just a few weeks ago.

HANKINSON: Yes, Sandy told me when she first was out here after the crash, of course it was a site of devastation. And when she returned a couple of weeks ago, she had not written her speech at that time, but it was so peaceful and reclaimed. It was just wonderful for her and she felt like this cloud was just lifted from her shoulders. And she went back on her flight and just wrote a most beautiful tribute, one that's about two-and-a-half minutes long and everyone will just be absolutely moved to tears. It's beautiful.

LIN: And the organizers got a call from the 11-year-old stepsister of one of the passengers, Deora Bodley, who died on the flight, but her 11-year-old stepsister actually called you with an idea.

HANKINSON: Yes, again, she wanted to take that idea of worldwide peace another step further. She had written a letter to me and asked if I would read it and see what I thought. And when I read it, it was just so insightful for an 11-year-old.

LIN: What did she say?

HANKINSON: She wanted to ask just for one minute of silence for worldwide peace. And knowing that we were having the upcoming memorial, it was only appropriate that we ask her if she would read that for us. And being 11 years old, of course she was a little anxious about it, but she is going to be reading that message. And with all of your help, we will attempt to get that message across the world and hopefully we will experience one minute of silence for worldwide peace.

LIN: And a great idea by an 11-year-old girl.

HANKINSON: Absolutely, yes.

LIN: Good for her.

Suzy Hankinson, thank you so much.

Today's ceremony promises to be a lovely one, starting at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, lasting for about an hour. One of the highlights is the bell tolling honoring the 40 victims to be synchronized with the bell tolling at the Pentagon and at New York's ground zero -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Carol Lin, thank you very much, reporting live this morning from Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

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