February 21, 2012 > History: Sugar Mill Landing Park
History: Sugar Mill Landing Park
By Myrla Raymundo
Those who pass by Alvarado-Niles Road and Dyer Street may wonder about rows of granite blocks in a small park nearby. Beautifully crafted, these remembrances are reminders of a tragic event - 9-1-1, the role of Flight 93 victims and the legacy of their sacrifice.
United Airlines Flight 93 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco International Airport. Hijacked as part of the September 11 attacks in 2001, passengers and crewmembers decided to mount an assault against the hijackers and gain control of the aircraft. Subsequently, the plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania killing all 40 passengers and crew and the four hijackers.
This location is also a commemoration of the nation's first successful beet sugar factory. Built in 1870 by E. H. Dyer, father of the American beet sugar industry, it began processing sugar beets on November 15, 1870, and produced 29 tons of sugar during its first operating season. The plant was completely rebuilt at one time on the original site. The entire plant was demolished in 1977.
Sugar Mill Landing Park began serving its dual purpose on December 8, 2007, when Union City's Flight 93 Memorial was dedicated. Union City Boy Scouts raised the Congressional Flag of Honor followed by a 21-gun salute. Family members of Flight 93 victims attended the ceremony, dedicating the first large-scale Flight 93 memorial in the United States.
Forty granite remembrance stones stand in the park - one for each of the 33 passengers and seven crewmembers killed on United Flight 93 - leading to a "Circle of Remembrance" that includes stories about the "heroes" on the flight and a list of donors etched in the stones. The "Circle of Hope" includes ceramic art from Union City school children surrounding a flagpole.
So, when you pass by the historic site, please offer a simple prayer to those passengers and crewmembers. May they rest in peace.
Editor's Note: Information and text for history columns in Tri-City Voice is contributed by area historians who may use documents and writings of others found in historical archives. Attribution to these sources will be noted when appropriate.