It was the furthest thing from their minds that beautiful but fateful morning when four planes struck despair and fear into the heart of America, killing 2977 innocent and courageous souls.
Mark knew it was not a one-man job so he enlisted Ben Haupt, his co-worker from Penn State, where they both worked maintaining the campus’ trees. Nothing could have prepared them for the job ahead. They arrived on September 13th at the edge of the hemlock forest bordering a strip mine. Next to the mine was a hole where the plummeting plane exploded into a fiery ball, scattering its contents in all directions.
Mark and Ben would spend the next week in the trees, retrieving pieces of the plane, some as large as a kitchen table, personal effects, and human remains. It was gruesome, dangerous, and life-changing work. Neither man would ever be the same.
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