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Miami foundation backs memorial to Flight 93 victims

Thursday, October 11, 2001

The trustees of a Miami-based journalism foundation announced yesterday that they would contribute between $250,000 and $500,000 to efforts to build a memorial to the victims of United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in Somerset County on Sept. 11 during the terrorist attacks.

The money is part of a $5 million pledge made by the trustees of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and funds other social service programs in 26 United States communities, including Philadelphia and State College.

"Our nation's loss -- of lives, of invulnerability, of innocence -- has been tempered by enduring examples of heroism, caring and strength," said Hodding Carter III, president and CEO of the Knight Foundation.

"We hope our contribution helps the nation rebuild, move on, and honor those whose bravery may have prevented greater losses."

With the exception of the money pledged to the Flight 93 memorial effort, none of the funds has been earmarked for any particular agency or relief effort, according to Larry Meyer, spokesman for the Knight Foundation.

"This was an emergency. I think our board members thought, 'Let's pledge the money now and determine the recipients later,' " Meyer said.

Although no specific plans are in place for a Flight 93 memorial, Meyer said the Knight Foundation hoped to be part of those discussions since other funds for a memorial had been started.

The passengers on board United Airlines Flight 93 en route from Newark to San Francisco have been credited with disrupting the hijackers' plans to crash the plane into a target in Washington, D.C. Instead, the plane went down in rural Somerset County, killing 40 passengers and crew members along with four hijackers.

The landowners, a pair of coal companies, have said they are inclined to donate the ground to become a permanent memorial to the passengers and crew of the Boeing 757.

The Pittsburgh Foundation already is administering $100,000 received Sept. 26 from Mitsubishi Electric Power Products in Warrendale. Pittsburgh Foundation spokeswoman Kitty Julian said yesterday that the foundation had received another $1,260 in donations.

A trust set up by Somerset County has collected at least $15,000, mostly in smaller, local donations, according to James Marker, chairman of the county commissioners.

Contributions to Mitsubishi's Pittsburgh Foundation fund can go to Heroes of Flight 93 Memorial Fund, Pittsburgh Foundation, One PPG Place, 30th Floor, Pittsburgh 15222.

The Somerset County fund is taking donations at Flight 93 Memorial Fund, Somerset Trust Co., PO Box 777, Somerset 15501.

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