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September 16, 2009 > Remembering Flight 93

Remembering Flight 93

By Corinne Davis
Photos By Dale Stone

The mourners of Flight 93 have gone. Pauline Ybera sits alone on a bench a few feet away from a monolith etched with a woman's name who died in the crash. She watches men wearing buttons that say Lucky's fold tables. Others collect and remove crates of uneaten apples and bottles of water. No refuse litters the grass at the 9/11 anniversary at Union City's Sugar Mill Landing Park.

Ybera clutches a Styrofoam cup for a free ice-cream dessert after her repose. However, she is in no hurry to leave now... the serenity that had only paused and given way for a few hours to those clad in black, who came to share memories and pay their respects to the 40 people lost in the crash, continues.

She knew no one who flew on the plane that day. Nevertheless, she took the day off work and traveled from Newark to visit the site, as she often does four or five times a year, especially on patriotic holidays.

"I often carry a cloth to wipe away dust or guano," she said. "I like to honor these brave people. It could have been any one of us who died."

Nearby, an Asian man watches his daughter dance around the circle of tiles created by children to commemorate the tragedy. They surround a flagpole on which the American flag above flaps gently in the breeze at half-mast.

Unlike Ybera who visits often, it is Jim Hayes' first visit. He, too, knew no one aboard Flight 93 but made the journey from San Jose to Union City so he could pay his respects despite a cast up to his knee that made walking difficult.

"I always wanted to come and decided I should do so today when I saw it on the TV news," the retired sports writer said. "In my day it was Pearl Harbor. Now it's 9/11, whatever the culture. All brave people. I wanted to pay my respects. It's about humility and gratitude."

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