Bill Clinton makes big gesture at Shanksville memorial

Phil Pruitt, Yahoo! News

Donors have contributed $52 million to build the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., but $10 million is still needed. Former President Bill Clinton declared Saturday that he and Speaker of the House John Boehner are going to do something about that.

“Since I am no longer in office, I can do unpopular things,” Clinton declared at the end of his remarks at Saturday’s dedication ceremony.

“I told the Secretary of the Interior, the head of your development program, that I was aghast to find out we still need to raise $10 million to finish this place. And Speaker Boehner and I have already volunteered to do a bipartisan event in Washington and let’s get this show on the road. Let’s roll.”

“Are you guys ready? OK. Let's roll!" was the last thing Todd Beamer, one of the passengers resisting hijackers aboard Flight 93, said, overheard by a telephone operator. He and others were preparing to charge the cockpit.

“Let’s roll” became a battle cry that resonated with Americans in the days after 9/11. The terrorists who hijacked Flight 93 planned to crash it into the White House or the U.S. Capitol, the 9/11 Commission later concluded. But passengers aboard the plane learned of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks via cell phone calls and formed a plan to fight back.

About 4,000 people gathered Saturday for the somber ceremony to honor the valor and dedication of the 40 people who died when the 757 slammed into the ground at 500 mph.

The $62 million plan

includes 2,200 acres. Future plans call for a memorial wall by 2014, a grove of 40 trees and, in time, a 93-foot "tower of voices" comprising 40 wind chimes.

"It looks great now, but we still have $10 million more to raise," said Ed Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania from 2003 to 2011, the period when the idea of a lasting memorial took hold.

Former President George W. Bush, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Boehner also attended the ceremony.

Bush declared in his remarks that the passengers’ heroism was the “first counteroffensive in the war on terror.”

Former U.S. president Bill Clinton speaks at the ceremony marking the opening of the Flight 93 National Memorial, September 10, 2011. (REUTERS/Jason Cohn)

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