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Old 07-26-2010, 08:37 AM   #1
PerfectStranger OP
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Ride to the Flight 93 Memorial, 23-24 July 2010

Want to skip my narrative? Click on bottom picture to go to slideshow.

I've wanted to make the trip to Shanksville, PA to visit the Flight 93 Memorial for quite a while. I live in the Cleveland, OH suburbs and the destination wasn't very far away so the trip wouldn't have to be a major event. About two months ago I determined that this was going to be the year.

I told a few fellow riders from work about my plans. One guy said he wanted to do it himself and that he'd go. A week or so later I was talking to my mom and told her about the trip and date we had selected. She asked if her and her friend could ride along. I said no problem and they were welcome to join us.

I've never rode with my mom before, nor the guy she was going to be riding with. Her dad and brother always had scoots so she's well versed in being a good passenger. She lives a couple of hours from me so we don't see each other nor do we do things together often enough. She's almost 60, I'm almost 40 and the clock is ticking. This would be a great chance to spend some time with her and sharing my love for the ride.

So the four of us head out on Friday morning. I'm on my Strom, Jim1 from work is on his 75 CB750 and Jim2 (mom's friend) is on his Sporty. An odd mix of bikes to be sure. Friday was a scorcher, 90F plus all day. Made it to our motel in Somerset, PA in the early evening. Take showers and head to Ruby Tuesdays to get some dinner. Back to the motel and hang around the pool until midnight.

Up in the morning and we're heading out to the memorial and crash site. As we're getting close to the site I find myself getting emotional. My eyes are pretty wet and my chest is tight. Yeah, son of a gun, I'm crying in my helmet. What the hell?

So we get there, park and take off the gear. It's not too busy, we're the only bikes there. We head over to where a guide is waiting to give us a brief outlay of the area and describe how events unfolded the morning of September 11, 2001. My head is hanging low and tears are hitting the gravel.

We head out to the overlook area. Waking up to the fence I survey the ground that comes into view. I stand there for a few minutes and take it in. The actual crash site is fenced off, nicely graded and grassy. There's a flag flying down there. I can't see too well because my eyes are full of tears. This is hallowed ground and I can feel it. There is a calm about the area, a quiet space that makes one look inward after seeing/reading what heroism others are capable of.

And then we rode home. That's all I can say about it. The emotions brought back while visiting the crash site were still with us all...and are still with me as I type this.

Before the trip, if you had asked me why I wanted to visit the crash site I probably would have listed a few reasons...nice ride, fun roads, see the site, spend time with my mom and friends. In hindsight, I now know that I needed to visit the site. I was carrying a lot of pain and sorrow regarding the whole 911 disaster. That place was where I could let go. That place was where I could deposit my tears for all of the heroes and innocents. These people are who we should honor.

Never forget. As time has passed we've pushed this back, pushed it down. I've heard people and talking heads trying to rationalize the act and others like it. Don't buy it. I'll never forget.

I'm not a photographer and use my 5 year old digital camera. Most of the time I don't even bring a camera. I took some pics throughout the trip. Would like to have taken more at the memorial/crash site but it just was not possible. I was sobbing. The Flight 93 chapel in the pictures is a few miles from the site. It's every bit worth visiting as the site itself.

I've done longer rides, faster rides, rides with more curves and rides with better weather. This is the best ride I've taken in my life. 500+ miles that I'll never forget.


Click on picture for slideshow

PerfectStranger screwed with this post 07-26-2010 at 08:53 AM
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:00 AM   #2
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Thanks for the link to the slide show... it's quite the lovely area to ride around there... I rode through there in late May
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Old 07-26-2010, 12:18 PM   #3
PerfectStranger OP
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Location: North Coast of Ohio
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Yes, fun riding. I often find myself riding in PA since it is only an hour away.
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