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The untold story of what happened to the people on the ground who witnessed the tragic crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.
The untold story of what happened to the people on the ground who witnessed the tragic crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.
121 backers pledged $6,682 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$6,682

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It's down to the home stretch. We Were Quiet Once is in need of funds to finish editing and begin distribution. 

The film has takes its root locally. Director/Producer Laura Beachy, a Somerset native, was in sixth grade several miles from the field where Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001. 

With hundreds of hours of footage shot in the last two years, and a rough cut that screened at Syracuse University in May, the production team is now focused on completing the final cut and sharing the film with the world. 

Your contribution will help with editing, finishing, color correcting and sound mixing, in addition to distribution, such as DVD duplication and film festival entry fees. The producers have also forged relationships with non-profit organizations that memorialize Sept. 11, to provide screenings as fundraising events to support these groups whose activities perpetuate the memory of those lost and help people affected by the tragedy. 

Contribute with confidence! Our project has been in the news for the past year across the northeast, and our team of filmmakers bring a wealth of experience to the production. 

See some of the press We Were Quiet Once has received

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The Story

Somerset County, the proverbial Mayberry of southwestern Pennsylvania; a picture-perfect small town portrayed in wholesome television programs of the 1950s; where life is viewed through a window of family-owned hardware stores, fruit markets, and old-fashioned barbershops. Where a deal is made with a strong handshake and those on the street know more about your family than you do yourself. Life embodies a quiet pleasant innocence derived from an unknown town in Anywhere, America…

That is, until September 11, 2001 when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in its backyard and launched Somerset County into the national spotlight. 

Last year, on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, a memorial was dedicated in what is now a National Park. What lasting effects does a national tragedy have on empathetic individuals living in a small town? How do those who have lived in anonymity for their entire lives deal with media attention? Does the constant presence of a tragedy in daily life perpetuate grief indefinitely? Put simply, what happens when your town is known for a tragedy?

The People

Father Al

After the crash of Flight 93, Father Al purchased a small century old church three miles from the crash site. The Flight 93 Memorial Chapel is a cross between a spiritual house and a museum. Items donated by family members sit on the outer ledges of the church – a first communion dress of one of the victims, a rugby football another played with as a child. 

Father Al was diagnosed with an extreme form of throat cancer. As his body rapidly deteriorates, his need to preserve the chapel becomes more vigilant. This is the story of his desperate journey to preserve the chapel and himself.

Terry

Terry is burly: tall and stocky with a long rattail, hands calloused and scarred from years of glass work, and a body full of tattoos. Yet under the façade lies a tortured soul attempting to grapple with working in the same location where he was eyewitness to crash of Flight 93.

Terry dedicates his life to making sure no one forgets the sacrifice of the victims. The tragedy of Flight 93 is his life: he grew a rose garden dedicated to the victims; each year he leaves a Christmas card for them at the site; his license plate reads "Untd93"; his car has all of the victims’ names written beside a scrawled angel; and all those tattoos are images of 9/11 – his eyewitness testimony, the victims’ names, the Flight 93 logo, and an eagle crying. His body has become a temple to a tragedy.

The human psyche connects on a level of suffering. He wants everyone to remember…maybe because he can’t forget. 

Rick

As one of the first firefighters on the scene of the Flight 93 crash site, Rick saw the initial crater of impact. He couldn’t believe a plane had crashed there because of the lack of debris. As he closed in on the tree line, pieces of the plane, mail, passports, and human remains were strewn in small patches throughout the area. It is a scene he will never forget.

After his involvement with securing the area during the FBI investigation, Rick felt compelled to do something to honor not only the victims of 9/11, but also the first responders. He is an aid to the 9/11 Ride Foundation, a motorcycle group that rides every year to the three sites to raise scholarship funds for first responders' children. Rick is in charge of the entire Pennsylvania leg of the ride.

Rick's story follows the planning and execution of the spiritual journey of 3,000 riders who seek to create meaning from tragedy.

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Funding period

- (45 days)