Kids’ mementos to be displayed at 9/11 memorial

Tributes left by children are displayed in the "Through Their Eyes" exhibition at Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown. (AP)

SHANKSVILLE (AP) – Crayon drawings, stuffed animals and other mementos left by children at the Flight 93 memorial in western Pennsylvania will go on display beginning this weekend.

The “Through Their Eyes” temporary exhibit in Shanksville will open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays this month.

Passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 were considered heroes for fighting back against the terrorists who had hijacked their plane on Sept. 11. Forty passengers and crew members died when the plane crashed into a field.

Soon after the attacks, a fence at the temporary memorial was quickly covered with license plates, flags and other memorabilia. Stuffed animals, trinkets and pictures were tucked into the lower rings of the fence or placed on the ground.

“Children want to know that their world is safe – that there are helpers to protect them and their families,” said memorial curator Barbara Black, creator of the exhibit. “But they are also empathetic and compassionate when others are suffering.”

An airplane made of Legos was left behind, along with a favorite moose, small toy firetrucks, a pack of Pokemon cards and other prized possessions.

A child’s drawing of a firefighter aiming a hose at a smoking airplane in the sky is included in the exhibit, along with expressions of sorrow, gratitude and patriotism.

“Thank you for my future,” one wrote.

“Thank you for helping me understand why my brother serves,” another said.

During a media tour Thursday, Black said she created the exhibit because children see, understand and explore the world differently than adults.

“They will express themselves in an uninhibited manner – whether it’s through drawing, playing with toys or objects, or, as they are able, expressing their thoughts in words,” she said.

Superintendent Stephen Clark said the exhibit is just the first of many planned at the memorial’s new learning center.