Pennsylvania will pay for security at the Flight 93 crash site to end a dispute over a donation box at the temporary memorial to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
A landowner said he installed the box to cover security costs at the site near Shanksville, but the cash box angered victims’ families, and the National Park Service covered it with a plastic bag.
Gov. Ed Rendell on Tuesday announced a $120,000 grant to pay for security at the site for two years.
“The families who lost loved ones in this crash should not have to bear the burden of paying for security at this site,” Rendell said in a statement. “It also eliminates any need for donation boxes, which transformed this hallowed ground into something less dignified.”
The Park Service had sent a letter to Mike Svonavec, who owns 273 acres of the site’s 1,300 acres east of Pittsburgh, asking him to remove the box. Svonavec said last week that he had no intention of taking it down. A message left at his office Tuesday was not immediately returned.
United Airlines Flight 93 was en route from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco on Sept. 11, 2001, when four terrorists hijacked it, likely with the goal of crashing into the White House or the Capitol.
The plane crashed in the western Pennsylvania field as passengers rushed the cockpit. All 33 passengers, seven crew members and the hijackers died.
A temporary memorial has been erected near the crash site, and a $58 million permanent memorial and national park are planned.