John McCain said today that he and many others in Congress owe their lives to the passengers of United Flight 93, the plane that crashed in rural Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.

"It is believed that the terrorists on United Flight 93 may have intended to crash the airplane into the United States Capitol," McCain said. Hundreds if not thousands of people would have been at work in that building when that fateful moment occurred, and been destroyed along with a beautiful symbol of our freedom."

"They and, very possibly I, owe our lives to the passengers who summoned the courage and love necessary to deny our depraved and hateful enemies their terrible triumph," McCain said.

McCain made the statement today in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed in a field after passengers rushed the cockpit and attacked the flight's hijackers, according to investigators.

Flight 93's passengers serve as a model of patriotism for Americans, McCain said.

"The only means we possess to thank them is to try to be as good an American as they were. We might fall well short of their standard, but there is honor in the effort," McCain said.

McCain and Barack Obama will make a joint appearance tonight at the former site of the World Trade Center in New York City, where they will honor the victims and rescue workers of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.