Gallery: An Uncommon Field

AN UNCOMMON FIELD: The Flight 93 Temporary Memorial

The title is based on the logo line developed for the Temporary Memorial, located outside of Shanksville, PA.: A Common Field. Uncommon Valor. The photographs of the series were taken over a two-and-a-half year period, in all seasons and weathers, beginning in the spring of 2005.

The crash site of Flight 93, in which the passengers rose up against their hijackers during the events of 9/11, is located in a large natural bowl several miles in diameter that was once the site of a strip mine. It is a place of undeniable power. An uncommon field.

In 2008 the Temporary Memorial was moved from where it had been since 2001 to a new location directly across the road. In 2010 the Temporary Memorial was moved a second time, to the “western overlook” — the original FBI command post at the crash site — to make way for construction of the permanent memorial. The first phase of the Flight 92 National Memorial will be dedicated on September 10, 2011.

People who visited the Temporary Memorial were often compelled to leave something of themselves behind, from affixing personal items to the sections of cyclone fence erected for that purpose, to writing with pens and markers on the parking area guard rails.

On a ridge overlooking the site were two draglines, mammoth seven-story tall movable cranes that were abandoned when the strip mine closed. The people who worked at the site called these draglines “The Guardians,” because the machines kept watch over the site. The Guardians witnessed the events that terrible day, watched as the airliner came over the ridgeline only 50 feet above the ground, flying upside down; watched as it disintegrated into the earth. Because of the cost to maintain the rusting draglines, they were removed from the site in 2008.

The photographs are approximately 10” x 10” carbon-pigment images, printed on 13” x 17” archival Somerset Velvet unenhanced watercolor paper.

In September 2011, the Carnegie University Press published a book of the series, consisting of 90 images and 25 sections of text, entitled AN UNCOMMON FIELD. Half of the artist’s proceeds of the book and prints will be contributed to the National Memorial. To learn more about the book including links for purchasing, go the Carnegie Mellon University book page:

For more information on the Flight 93 National Memorial or to make a contribution, go to