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Much attention has been paid to the National September 11 Memorial near the site of the World Trade Center, which will be dedicated on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. But one day earlier, Vice President Joe Biden and other dignitaries will gather in a field near Shanksville, Pa., to dedicate a memorial to the 40 passengers and crew who died on the hijacked United Flight 93. The memorial — which is being built in phases — is the work of state and federal governments, as well as a group representing family members of those who died. One of the driving forces behind the memorial is Patrick White, of counsel at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur in Naples. Fla., co-chairman of Flight 93 National Memorial Task Force and vice president of the Families of Flight 93. White has spent more than 1,800 pro bono hours helping the memorial become reality. The National Law Journal spoke with White about his work and the challenges the memorial has faced. His answers have been edited for length. National Law Journal: How did you get involved in the memorial effort?Patrick White: The short version is I lost a first cousin [Louis "Joey" Nacke II] on the plane. He was one of the men, based on the cockpit voice recorder and the location of his remains, who helped break into the cockpit. We know he stood up and was front and center. About seven weeks later, his dad passed away. It became obvious to us all that we were going to have to step up. When my cousin asked me to help, I said, “Whatever it takes, I’ll help.” All my cousins are like siblings to me. It’s been a good use of my professional skills, as well as a lot of my prior life experiences as a fire medic and in first aid services. The general set of skills you get being a lawyer has really been a tremendous help in managing all the aspects of the myriad of things it takes to build a memorial. NLJ: What does the memorial look like?P.W.: It is a design that relies on slight sculpting of the landscape that pre-existed to focus on the crash site, which is designated in the design as the sacred ground. It has a memorial plaza walkway in the shape of a wing, if you will. It has layer upon layer of symbolism embedded in the design — things like the color of the walkway being similar to the coal that was strip-mined and deep-minded from the site, imprints in that walkway resembling the branches in the nearby hemlocks that the plane crashed into, a field of honor that focuses on the sacred grounds, a ring road that gives the viewer a 180-prospective. One of the most distinctive features to me is a white marble memorial wall that is aligned with the flight path and bears, on each panel, a name of one of the passengers or crew. All of it fits together seamlessly and in ways that if you spend more time there reflecting on things, you just feel it. You see it. Although simple, it has many layers of subtlety to it.NLJ: What has been the most difficult part of the process?P.W.: Very simply, land acquisition. The Families of Fight 93I’m their vice president and was designated by their board of directors as the first buyers’ and then sellers’ agent and handled all the negotiations on behalf of the families. We were blessed to receive a substantial amount of money from Universal Studios from the showing of the film United 93. That, along with some other substantial funds that Somerset County had from collections and donations that occurred shortly after Sept. 11, we combined to buy almost all of the lands that are now under the National Park Service control. Acquiring those parcels was really the sticking point, going back as far as having to figure out the politics on Capitol Hill to break free funds that were supposed to be designated for land acquisitions from Congress, but got held up for a couple of budget cycles. By the time we had those funds available, the families had acquired substantial number of holdings. NLJ: It seems that your background as a land-use attorney was very relevant.P.W.: In some ways, I have moments where I felt that almost the entirety of my professional and many of my personal experiences in life were preparation to be able to take on this series of challenging and so varied problems that we’ve had to solve. We’ve done it in a way that, like the design itself, is kind of elegant and simple. But getting there was very complicated and required some complex problem-solving.NLJ: Although the memorial is being dedicated, it’s not yet complete, right?P.W.: On the 10th, this Saturday, Vice President Biden, former president Bush and another gentleman who I cannot yet disclose, but who is also a former president, are expected to be in attendance, along with a bunch of other federal and state dignitaries. We are going to dedicate what we call the first phase. Even as we are dedicating this portion of the memorial, we are moving ahead with the next. NLJ: Is there a timeline for when the memorial will be complete?P.W.: I’ll share a short story with you. Back in the years when we were figuring out the funding for the lands, I took the then-Park Service superintendent outside a place we were having dinner and I said, “This is a line in the sand.” And I drew a line on the sidewalk with my foot. I said, “This represents 10 years, and either you are on this side of the line and we who have worked together so closely will be on opposite sides; or you’re going to come over to this side and we’re going to work together, and this country will build a substantial memorial within 10 years. If our nation can put a man on the moon within 10 years, I’m confident if we work together we can get a substantial part of the memorial built within 10 years.” We’re now hoping for 2014 to have this completed. The one huge hurdle that has to be cleared is the funding for those construction and design activities. My understanding is, based upon the estimates we’ve seen, we need somewhere in the vicinity of $9 million for the phase we are currently planning. Beyond that, the numbers are much less precise. NLJ: It sounds like the memorial has been a huge part of your life for the past decade.P.W.: Every day, when I get up, I have a stainless steel bracelet that was manufactured by one of the local companies. It is inscribed with some words about 9/11. Just before I put it on, I give it a kiss and I think of my cousin, and the other passengers and crew members. I remember that no matter what I’m asked to do on behalf of the memorial that day, it is less than what they were asked to do on Sept. 11. I make a choice, like they did, to stand up. I encourage others in our profession to choose to do the right thing, and honor the profession we are all privileged to be a part of. Karen Sloan can be contacted at [email protected].

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