Filling time capsule a touching conclusion to 9/11 ceremony at Letterkenny Army Depot

September 08, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH |
  • Chief Terry Shaffer gave his account of September 11, 2001 in a speach titled "Remembering Flight 93 in Shanksville" Sunday afternoon at the Letterkenny Chapel.
By Joe Crocetta / Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The spirit of a Sept. 11, 2001, commemoration Sunday afternoon prompted Betty L. Bitner to make an impromptu decision and place a sentimental possession in a time capsule.

Bitner, of Chambersburg, put a coin on top of the items already packed into the time capsule, which will be opened in 2021. She had carried the coin for the past several years since her parents died.

The coin has a message on it about God carrying people in difficult times. The concept resonated with Bitner as she reflected on the nearly 3,000 people killed in terrorist attacks 12 years ago.

“As I think of this, it’s symbolic these people went home to their Lord,” she said.

Filling the time capsule concluded a ceremony at Franklin County Veterans and 9/11 Memorial Park at Letterkenny Army Depot. The observance featured remarks from U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and Terry L. Shaffer, retired fire chief from Shanksville, Pa.

Shaffer described responding to the field where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed as passengers and crew attempted to wrest control of the plane from hijackers.

“Nothing could’ve prepared us for this call,” he said.

Assistant Chief Rick King arrived at the scene first, Shaffer said.

“When I saw Rick’s face, I knew there were no survivors of this plane crash,” he said.

Shuster, whose district includes that section of the state, evacuated the U.S. Capitol during the attacks. He said the actions of those on board Flight 93 possibly spared him and others, assuming the nation’s capital was the terrorists’ destination.

Flight 93’s passengers and crews engaged in “the first counterattack in the war on America,” Shuster told a capacity crowd at Letterkenny Chapel.

The congressman described changes in the world since 2001.

“What hasn’t changed, however, is our spirit, resolve and patriotism,” Shuster said.

U.S. Navy veteran Dan Hulings, of Chambersburg, has attended other services at Letterkenny Chapel, but he went to the Sept. 11, 2001, commemoration for the first time.

“If you’re American and you have blood in your body, this is the place to be,” he said.

The Franklin County Veterans and 9/11 Memorial Park features steel beams from ground zero in New York City. Designs for the park were unveiled two years ago.

Sponsorship opportunities remain for sections of the park.

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