United Flight 175 Families Somber At Pennsylvania’s Walk Of Remembrance

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Steel beams mark the walkway leading to the “Walk of Remembrance” in Pennsylvania. (credit: Steve Tawa/CBSPhilly.com)

Steel beams mark the walkway leading to the “Walk of Remembrance” in Pennsylvania. (credit: Steve Tawa/CBSPhilly.com)

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By Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio, and Jericka Duncan, CBS 3

LOWER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS Local) – The Bucks County, Pa., memorial to those killed in the 9/11 attacks drew people who had learned of Osama Bin Laden’s demise in May.

The mood was somber at the Garden of Reflection in Lower Makefield Township where dozens stopped by to pay their respects and remember those lost nearly 10 years ago. The reaction to Osama Bin Laden’s death was mixed.

“It brings back feelings from the beginning,” said Ellen Saracini. Her husband Victor John Saracini was the Captain on United Flight 175; the hijacked plane that hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center. “I am really glad that we now are free of him,” said Saracini. “I can be thrilled he’s not in power but I’m also sad that Victor is not home, and that the girls don’t have their dad.”

Those steel beams are at one end of a teardrop walkway which leads to the “Walk of Remembrance,” etched with the names of victims.

Skip Gittens of Newtown, Pa., a board member of the memorial, says he saw many people walking today along the sloping grass that leads to the twin fountains.

Other people who lost loved ones on 9/11 shared a similar sentiment. In Doylestown, Ralph Maerz said he wasn’t necessarily excited to hear of Osama Bin Laden’s death, rather, he said he felt relieved. “I knew eventually he’d be caught,” said Maerz. “I only regret one thing, that I would have had the gun in my hand,” referring to the fatal shot fired by the Navy Seal who killed Bin Laden.

Back at the Garden several neighbors who didn’t even know any of the 18 Bucks County victims said they felt compelled to come to the memorial site and pause in remembrance of lives lost.

“To come here and see this wonderful park and have an opportunity to just reflect on everything that happened on that day, it’s just a wonderful thing,” said Council Rock High school multimedia teacher Thomas Range. Range a a few other teachers visited the site with a group of students who were only 7 or 8 years-old when the nation experienced the worst terror attack to date.

“It’s good to remind them so they can see how lucky we are to live in this country and to have the freedoms we enjoy,” said Range.”

Out of the many lives lost in the attacks, 18 of them were from Bucks County. Ellen Saracini visited the garden to pay her respects to her husband, Victor John Saracini, who was the captain of United Flight 175, one of the planes that hit the tower 10 years ago.

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“This is about honoring those we lost. This is a place of solace, where you can come and pay respects and say a prayer,” said Saracini.

One visitor, Shelley Szwalbenest, says she hopes families who lost loved ones gain a measure of peace at the garden. Still, she was realistic.

“It would be naive to think terrorism is ended because Bin Laden’s life is ended.”

As Council Rock senior student looked over the names of victims killed he said, “All these people died. It was all because of him (referring to Bin Laden), and I finally feel justice has been served. Now they can rest in peace and know they didn’t in vain.”

The memorial also includes 17 maple trees — representing each of the Bucks County, Pa. victims killed on September 11th, 2001 — surrounded by 82 lights representing the children of Pennsylvania who lost a parent.

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