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Chalk Portraits Honor ‘Heroes’ of United Flight 93 on 9/11

by Emily Scott, Keystone State News Connection

Chalk Portraits Honor ‘Heroes’ of United Flight 93 on 9/11

Many have called United Flight 93, one of the four hijacked planes on Sep. 11, 2001, the first battle in the war on terror. Last week, chalk artists from across the country created portraits, to honor those on board who attempted to retake control of the plane.

Flight 93 is the only hijacked plane from 9/11 that did not reach its intended target, believed to be Washington, D.C. Instead, it crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing the 40 passengers and crew members.

Erik Greenawalt, a chalk artist from Pittsburgh, will display his art, along with nine other artists, at the Flight 93 National Memorial near the crash site. Greenawalt said he is proud to create art on hallowed ground.

“Flight 93 is very close to our hearts, and still in our memory and still in our collective minds,” Greenawalt reflected. “I think I, along with the artists, really recognize the solemnity of what it is that we’re doing. And this is going to be one to memorialize those heroes from that day and, at least for a moment, let the visitors at the memorial see who those people were.”

The portraits will be made on three-by-five-foot cement boards that are transportable in case of rain. The artists will use photos provided by the National Park Service, which runs the memorial.

Nate Baranowski, a Chicago-based chalk artist, visited the Flight 93 National Memorial during a road trip earlier this year and was moved by its tribute to the victims. He said he is looking forward to participating in the project, and using an art form like chalk is a great way to symbolically remember the lives lost on 9/11.

“Because in a lot of ways, honoring those on Flight 93 is honoring their lives, but also acknowledging the sort of ephemeral nature of life and how it is short in a lot of ways,” Baranowski remarked. “It shows the beauty of lives, although tragically cut short.”

More events at the memorial this weekend include a speaker series with local first responders and family members of Flight 93 passengers, as well as a lantern vigil.