My husband's niece married this weekend in Somerset, Pennsylvania. A perfect weekend, like Hannah, provided the background for the festivities. The weather not hot or too cold, the sky blue with happy cloud shadows floating over the pastoral land surrounding the winery of the reception. Southwestern Pennsylvania possesses a rural feel different than near the steel mills or the distant mountains of Cameron County. This land inhabited longer with stone houses, but not quite owning the colonial impact of eastern Pennsylvania.
Off US Route 30 of rolling hills and history lays the field where Flight 93 crashed that distant day of 2001. Not too far from Somerset, some of the family trekked there on Sunday morning. I have been to far away battle fields before and expected nothing when I got there.
We drove over the country roads to 30 and continued on the Lincoln Highway. The long entrance drive to the pavilion continued as we wondered how long. Even in the parking lot I had no agenda, just a tourist observation. Then this picture hit me:
I observed the sky, not quite as blue as that September day, already on a late Sunday morning, old contrails leaking into the blue. That day in September, I read the times on the board and recalled exactly what I was doing. I relived the urgency to get home that day to my family. I only wanted to be with my husband and the girls in my modest home. And the sky, the sky, I thought, I'll never see a sky this blue again, as all the air traffic halted. We all seemed to halt that day.
The sacredness of this place brought back my memories of visiting the wall in Washington, D.C. I, then, also went not out of urgency. I really didn't know any Vietnam heroes. It was a war of my childhood, but no one close to me died to affect my life. Yet the names of those who gave their lives for something bigger than themselves demand a respect we can't ignore. Palpable respect and reverence sanctify these places. I cannot ignore this aura in these memorials to a cause bigger than myself.
Aunt Twila told me Pearl Harbor is the same, as hush over the ship seen still in the clear waters is demanded. Yet, I don't think man has to demand this silence. To speak is nearly impossible. I hope these places always hold that supernatural sanctification so we never forget.