Image: Flags at the temporary Flight 93 memorial
Gene J. Puskar  /  AP
In this Sept. 11, 2010 file photo, flags frame the crash site of United Flight 93 at the temporary Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pa. Family members were planning to ask  Congress to approve the $3.7 million for the memorial.
By
updated 3/9/2011 5:59:11 PM ET 2011-03-09T22:59:11

Families of those who died on United Airlines Flight 93 said Wednesday they hope Congress won't forget the heroism displayed aboard the hijacked flight. Lawmakers are considering whether to give more federal money for a 9/11 memorial at the crash site in Pennsylvania.

Family members said they're reminding lawmakers that if not for the heroic actions of those on the plane, members of Congress could have been among the victims on Sept. 11, 2001.

"So many times they forget they were the target and that these heroes we are trying to memorialize helped them live another day," said Calvin Wilson of Herndon, Va., a construction company project manager whose brother-in-law, LeRoy Homer, Jr., was first officer on the flight.

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Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was hijacked with the likely goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol, the 9/11 Commission found. Passengers fought back and the plane crashed into a field near rural Shanksville, about 65 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. All 33 passengers and seven crew members died.

"All 40 of those people on that plane made it possible (for members of Congress) to get their job done," said Deborah Borza, whose daughter Deora Frances Bodley, 20, died in the crash. "It was my daughter's honor to die that day so people here could take care of the nation's business, still. We are still reaping the benefits of that sacrifice today."

Family members are meeting with members of Congress over the next few days to urge approval of the $3.7 million for the memorial the President Barack Obama asked for in his new budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. They will also meet with Obama administration officials.

The memorial's first phase, including a wall with the names of the victims, will be dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the crash.

"It's so bittersweet," Wilson said. "A lot of the wounds are re-opened that day."

The memorial is expected to cost $60 million. Congress has already provided $10 million, Pennsylvania is giving $18.5 million and about $20 million has been raised privately.

Family members said they hope their push for federal funding won't be hurt by the budget-slashing fervor in Congress.

"We work very hard to stay as apolitical as possible," said Gordon Felt, whose brother, Edward Felt, was a passenger. "Our goal is to complete this memorial to 40 heroes and avoid the politics of the day. It is a story that is not controversial."

Without such a memorial, Felt worries that the story and memory of the heroes that day could fade, particularly among the younger people not alive back on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Unless there's a place where they can go to see it and learn about it, it might be forgotten," Felt said.

The park will be nearly 3 1/2 square miles, with a chapel at its entrance featuring 40 chimes symbolizing each of the victims.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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