September 11, 2002

"Behind the Scenes of 9-11" – ABC video

(Clips about Shanksville and Val McClatchey @ 35:28)

Google video link

(Pic @ 36:00)

"Photo Gallery" -

On Sept. 11, Val McClatchey instinctively snapped this photograph of smoke rising over her neighbor's barn from the crash of United Flight 93 in Somerset County. The photo is now on sale at a local store for $20, with $18 benefiting the families of the victims. (Keith Hodan/Tribune-Review)

"The day that changed America" - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

(Snippet. Emphasis mine.)

The day that changed America

By Robb Frederick


Wednesday, September 11, 2002


Val McClatchey heard the 757 roar over Indian Lake, three miles east of where it would crash. She had been watching the "Today" show, with footage from New York, and now the Pentagon.

She looked out the window, above the red barns. She caught a glimpse of it, like light off a watch face. Then nothing, and then a boom that nearly knocked her off the couch.

The lights went out. The phones, too.

She grabbed her camera. She stepped onto the front porch and shot one frame of the smoke cloud, a charcoal puff in a pure blue sky.

That image — "End of Serenity," she called it — caught the essence of Somerset County that day. The barns, the blue sky, the open slope of pasture — it's a postcard, except for that fat, black cloud, swelling like a smoke signal, warning that something horrible has happened.

"I thought it was an accident," McClatchey says, a Time and a Newsweek and a Reader's Digest in the binder on the coffee table, the pages with her photo marked with Post-Its. "I thought it was a small plane. I figured they were just trying to get out of the air."

She didn't walk up that road, toward the hole in the tree line. She could hear the sirens; she knew it was bad. She didn't need to see.

She went into the kitchen and put on barbecue for the rescue crews.


The people of Somerset County lost something else, something that cloud crowded out of Val McClatchey's photograph. She realized it that night, in bed, listening to the hum of the emergency generators. The lights up the hill came through the curtains.

"You go along, day to day, and you never think much about your situation in life," says her husband, Jack. "Something like this, it changes your outlook on things. You're waiting for the other shoe to drop.

"This area will never be the same," he says.

Note that the plane Val hears over her area flies almost in the opposite direction as officials said Flight 93 flew in before it crashed:

"In the sky, a heroic struggle aboard hijacked United Flight 93" - U.S. News

In the sky, a heroic struggle aboard hijacked United Flight 93

By Samantha Levine


It has been awhile–most agree since the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 (in which settlers rioted against excise taxes)–that the country even knew the town existed. "It used to be, 'Where the heck is Shanksville?'" says Valencia McClatchey, who lives near the crash site and snapped the oft-reproduced photo of a plume of smoke hovering over an old red barn and staining the morning sky. It's not a place most would know about. The town of 245 people sits nearly two hours east of Pittsburgh in the middle of Somerset County. There are two ski resorts and two state prisons in the county, but you don't have to go through Shanksville to reach them. Its relative obscurity allowed residents to burrow deep into their quiet community, and its serenity attracted people like McClatchey and her husband, John.


September 08, 2002

"Lives changed in countless ways" - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Lives changed in countless ways

By Andrew Conte


Sunday, September 8, 2002


Val McClatchey, 46, took a now-famous picture of the crash's black smoke hanging over a neighbor's red barn. She snapped the picture instinctively but then could not bear to look out her windows again for three days.

She drove out recently to the memorial site in her black Camaro convertible to meet with television reporters from one of the national networks. Her picture sells for $20 at Ida's Store in Shanksville, with $18 going to a fund for the victims' families.

"There are some people who just can't get past it, and they are out here every day," she said, visiting the memorial for just the fourth time. "It can get a little overwhelming."

Val McClatchey snapped this photograph of smoke rising over her neighbor's barn from the crash of United Flight 93

On Sept. 11, Val McClatchey instinctively snapped this photograph of smoke rising over her neighbor's barn from the crash of United Flight 93 in Somerset County. The photo is now on sale at a local store for $20, with $18 benefiting the families of the victims.

January 29, 2002

'End of serenity' is copyrighted

Registration Number: VA-1-128-462

Title: End of serenity.

Description: Photo.

Claimant: acValencia M. McClatchey

Created: 2001

Published: 1Oct01

Registered: 29Jan02

January 01, 2002

"Photo Benefits Crash Victims" - Penn Lines

Penn Lines - End Of The Line For Trapping?

January 2002 Vol 37 No. 1

Photo Benefits Crash Victims

Electric cooperative consumer Val McClatchey of Indian Lake, Somerset County, is selling 8 x 10 prints of her gripping photograph "End to Serenity" (October 2001 issue of Penn Lines, page 14). The shot — first published in Penn Lines — was taken moments after hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near her home on September 11. The plane went down after passengers thwarted plans by Muslim terrorists to slam the aircraft into the U.S. Capitol or White House.

Cost for a print is $20, with $18 donated to the Todd Beamer Foundation. The remaining $2 covers shipping and handling. The Todd Beamer Foundation — named for one of the heroic passengers aboard Flight 93 — benefits families of those who perished in the tragedy.

To order, please send a check or money order to: Val McClatchey, 107 Osage Path, Stoystown, PA 15563. [January - PDF]

Notice that in this article, it tells people to make their check or money order directly out to Val and not to The Todd Beamer Foundation as the Shanksville memorial website that advertises Val’s photo says to do. Also, how many people who have gone to the memorial website wanting to buy of copy of her photo have goofed and wrote their check/money order out to Val and not to the Todd Beamer Foundation as it says to?

Remember that Val said she uses the “honor system” in forwarding the foundation profits from selling her photo and has admitted to keeping some of the profits to fight her lawsuit battle with the AP.

Penn Lines - Can Chestnuts Make A Comeback?

October 2001 Vol 36 No. 10

Utility Unity on Display [October - PDF]

"Terrorism Hits" - Pennsylvania Township News

Terrorism Hits

Somerset County Township Recalls Fateful Day of Flight 93

The story behind the photo...

Val McClatchey of Stoystown, Somerset County, just happened to be in the right place at the right time and snapped the photo at the top of this page, which she has titled “End of Serenity.” The photo, which has appeared in Newsweek and other publications, shows the ominous cloud of smoke that arose from the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, in which 38 people perished on September 11. McClatchey is selling the photos for $20 each, with the proceeds going to the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, which benefits the children of the crash victims. Beamer is among the passengers who attempted to overcome the plane’s hijackers. To order the photo, send a check or money order, made payable to the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, in care of Val McClatchey, 107 Osage Path, Stoystown, PA 15563.

Pennsylvania Township News—January 2002 stonycreek jan02.pdf