Long Pond, PA (July 17, 2012) ―The National Park Foundation’s Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign has been chosen as Pocono Raceway’s charitable beneficiary of the NASCAR Green Flag Tree Planting program. The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, is excited that the eight green flags dropped during the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 10 will result in planting eight acres (approximately 5,000) of seedlings at the Flight 93 National Memorial as part of a 150,000-tree planting initiative.
As America was attacked on September 11, hijackers piloted United Flight 93 toward a target in Washington, D.C. As the plane crossed western Pennsylvania, the passengers and crew chose that moment to take action, retaliating against their hijackers. In the struggle to regain control of the plane, Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania – a mere 18 minutes flying time from the nation’s capital.
The memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania remembers the heroism of the forty men and women on board Flight 93 and offers a place of learning and understanding about the events of September 11, 2001. Tree planting is an essential feature of the memorial’s design intended to symbolically create a living memorial and to develop an environmentally sustainable model for the 2,200-acre reclaimed coal mine and national park.
“Pocono Raceway is honored to join NASCAR and the National Park Foundation in the seedling planting to forever remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on September 11,” stated Brandon Igdalsky, Pocono Raceway President and CEO.
The model will transform this area in important ways. Building the memorial will invigorate new life into a field scarred both by the events of September 11 and by years of mining and will change the Flight 93 site into a publicly-accessible national park visited and enjoyed by millions of visitors.
“The National Park Foundation is excited to partner with Pocono Raceway and the NASCAR Green Flag Tree Planting Program,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “Their generous support will play an important role in nurturing a special relationship between visitors to the Flight 93 National Memorial and the environment.”
Tree-planting initiatives at the memorial supplemented by the NASCAR Green Flag Tree Planting Program will help to achieve the objectives of creating a living memorial, healing a landscape scarred by past events, and establishing the park as a long-term manager and caretaker of the environment. Planting 150,000 trees will positively transform the memorial from a simple field to a green park and significantly offset thousands of tons of carbon emissions in a region heavily energy-dependent upon fossil fuels. Moreover, a long-term view of the memorial shared by Pocono Raceway, the NASCAR Green Flag Tree Planting Program, and the National Park Foundation will ensure continued tree-planting at the nation’s September 11 memorial and inspire other parks to take action in protecting the environment and their natural resources.