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Legislation to honor Sept. 11 heroes with special tour trail ahead of 20th anniversary of 9/11

U.S. Congressmen Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Don Beyer (D-VA) have introduced legislation to designate the “September 11th National Memorial Trail.”

The Secretary of Interior would be authorized to designate a tour route to link the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York City, the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pa.

In reality, the route has already been selected. The September 11th National Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile system of trails and roadways that symbolize resiliency and character linking the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C and the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. It is a tribute to the fallen men and women who perished on September 11, 2001 and the result of a partnership between the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, National Park Service, State and local governments, and other nonprofit organizations.

The Trail takes a triangular route through some of the most beautiful and historic parts of the United States. Starting at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington,  the Trail will extend northwest to the Flight 93 National Memorial. It will then continue east to New York City’s National September 11th Memorial and Museum. The Trail then heads south following the East Coast Greenway connecting to the 9/11 Memorial Garden of Reflection. It then connects to the National Mall in Washington D.C. and ultimately returns to the Pentagon Memorial.

Said Connolly, who has a field office at Tackett’s Mill Shopping Center in the Lake Ridge area of Prince William County, “As our nation prepares for the 20th Anniversary of September 11th, we have a tremendous opportunity to create a lasting legacy that connects all three sites attacked that horrific day,” said Connolly. “The September 11th National Memorial will serve a particularly significant role – honoring the families and loved ones who were victims of the attack, and the heroes who saved countless lives on such a tragic day.  I thank my colleagues Representatives Fitzpatrick and Beyer for their leadership, and the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, especially my friend David Brickley, for their steadfast and unrelenting support of this project.”

“Less than six months from now, our nation will collectively pause to remember the 20th anniversary of September 11th, 2001—the day we watched unspeakable acts of evil unfold and incredible acts of sacrifice and heroism by the brave people of our great nation. Our bipartisan legislation designates a trail that connects each of the different sites attacked, providing us an ongoing opportunity to come together and reflect on that tragic day,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick added, “I am proud to join Congressmen Connolly and Beyer in introducing this legislation that will help ensure we never forget the resilience of America and that we will always honor the many heroes and innocent lives our nation lost that day.”

“This year we will mark 20 years since the attacks on September 11, 2001, which claimed the lives of so many, including members of our Northern Virginia community,” said Beyer. “Our legislation will provide a new way to help honor and remember all we lost that day, and connect the different sites where that day’s tragedy unfolded. I appreciate and thank all who have worked to make this excellent idea a reality.”

The legislation is endorsed by the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance.

David Brickley of Dale City, a former member of the House of Delegates and a former assistant director of Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, is the founder and president-emeritus of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance. Said Brickley, “The National Park Service federal designation will ensure that the 1,300-mile 9/11 National Memorial Trail will forever be a trail of remembrance honoring those heroes of 9/11, and America’s resilience as a nation.”

He added, “We are grateful for Congressman Connolly’s leadership in sponsoring this legislation with the goal of having it signed into law by President Biden by September 11, 2021—the 20th anniversary of that tragic day.”

Thomas Baxter, IV, current president of the September 9/11 National Memorial Trail Alliance, was quoted as saying, “We’re deeply appreciative and excited to see the federal designation process underway.The 9/11 National Memorial Trail is a place of connection and history…a triangular pathway that joins the three 9/11 National Memorial sites at Shanksville, Pa., the Pentagon and New York City.”

“As part of the federal designation, the Sept. 11 National Memorial Trail Alliance is poised for a successful partnership with the Flight 93 National Memorial—truly an honor and privilege to be involved with such an important commemoration,” said Andy Hamilton, board chair of the Sept. 11 National Memorial Trail Alliance. “The 9/11 National Memorial Trail intersects six states, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and showcases many of their historic sites along the way, like the Path of the Flood Trail, Antietam National Battlefield, Empty Sky Memorial, Valley Forge National Park, Washington Crossing and the Lincoln Memorial.”

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