I’ll Never Forget a Soldier’s Boots Left Behind at Flight 93 Memorial
On August 13, 2017, while on a long road trip vacation with my wife, I visited the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania. The large complex near Stoystown is dedicated to remembering those that were lost there on September 11, 2001.
The actual site of the crash is off limits to the public as it is still considered the final resting place of the victims. Only authorized family members and staff are allowed into the debris field. It can be viewed from behind a short wall along the perimeter walkway.
We strolled through the museum looking, reading eyewitness accounts, looking at exhibits and heartbreaking artifacts. One of those that stood out to me was a pair of very used military-looking boots.
A placard behind the boots explained their significance:
"Specialist Joel Hutchison, 10th Mountain Division, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, wore these boots during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan from September 2001 to April 2002. He left this message and his boots at the Flight 93 temporary memorial in August 2004: "RIP Flight 93. Thank you for fighting back."
Specialist Hutchison was referring to the brave souls who fought back against the terrorists. While they did not succeed in retaking the plane, they likely saved many more people on the ground at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C., the alleged target of Flight 93, according to conspirators.
Thank you Flight 93 passengers and crew for fighting back. Same goes for you, Specialist Hutchison.