Memorial for Flight 93 Faces Opposition

ByABC News via logo
April 26, 2006, 7:17 AM

April 26, 2006 — -- In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, it might have seemed impossible to imagine a day where it would be difficult to raise money for memorials for the victims of the attacks, especially from the federal government.

Those in favor of a monument to honor the passengers on Flight 93, which went down over a Pennsylvania field after it was hijacked, however, are facing opposition from a powerful congressman.

Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., is blocking at least $10 million in federal money because he says the memorial plan he's seen is not realistic.

"I'm saying emotion, politics, that sort of thing is not the way to go," Taylor said. He is the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

His concerns are that the memorial may be too big, that there aren't yet enough private funds for it, and that it remains unclear who will pay for its upkeep and for how long. The World Trade Center Memorial and Museum is also having problems with fund raising amid reports that its cost has ballooned from $500 million to $800 million.

"You can listen to a lot of folks about the sacrifices that were made, and I can certainly sympathize with that, but then you have to realistically put together the millions of dollars of taxpayer money that has to make this happen and continue," Taylor said.

Taylor argued that when the Oklahoma City bombing memorial was built, it cost taxpayers millions more than originally promised because of poor planning. Taylor said similar problems would dishonor the memories of the brave passengers.

The relatives of the victims of Flight 93 don't see it that way.

"They really did take it into their own hands so there really should be a monument or memorial," said Paige Lang, whose cousin was on the flight.

Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who represents the Pennsylvania area where the monument would be built, is lobbying Taylor.

"I don't think we shine the light on Shanksville and those 40 people the way we should," he said.

Patrick White, a cousin of a Flight 93 victim, agreed.

"I've been on the site. The land out there speaks volumes," he said. "Anyone who's been there senses there is something special."