September 10, 2010 > Honoring Flight 93 heroes
Honoring Flight 93 heroes
Submitted By Christine Cattano and Stuart Shapiro
Ride With the 40 (RW40), a cross-country motorcycle ride created to raise awareness and funds for the Flight 93 National Memorial, embarked on its second annual run on September 2, 2010 at Newark Liberty International Airport. The 3,250-mile journey concludes at San Francisco International Airport after several stops including Union City's Flight 93 Memorial on September 11, 2010. RW40 follows the scheduled route of Flight 93, symbolically connecting Americans from coast-to-coast in remembrance of the 40 passengers of the ill-fated flight and attacks against the Twin Towers and Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
RW40 was initiated by brothers Kenny and Dale Nacke and their cousins, Patrick and David White. They completed the inaugural ride between September 3 and 11, 2009. The Nackes' brother, Louis Joseph Nacke II, 42, of New Hope, PA, was among the group of passengers who stormed the cockpit to thwart the hijackers. They raised $125,000 in 2009 for a Flight 93 National Memorial and created a groundswell of support across the nation.
Earlier this year, Families of Flight 93 (Families), a non-profit Pennsylvania group formed to support the creation of a fitting memorial to the memory of their lost loved ones and 9/11 events, partnered with All the Busy Criminals (ABC), a New York-based media collective, to execute RW40 in 2010 and 2011.
The Flight 93 story is unlike any other in recent history. Its hallmarks - courage, strength, solidarity and individual sacrifice for the nation's greater good - are moving, inspiring, and profoundly patriotic. RW40 carries the same hallmarks, from the small group struggling to keep the grassroots movement alive to a lone "bikerette" leading the motorcade across the nation. Rae Killebrew-Amadio, 68, of Austinville, Ohio, is the only female motorcyclist to ride coast-to-coast with RW40. A retired telecommunications worker, completing the ride will be part of her 69th birthday celebration, on September 18. "I did some riding when I was a teenager but was in my 50s before I started really getting into it," says Killebrew-Amadio. "When I learned about RW40, I knew immediately it was something I wanted to do. I needed a cause and this one feels right to me. Going coast -to-coast has been on my 'To Do' list but riding for the 40 is special. My heart goes out to the families of the people who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. They protected us, that's what they did. They will always be heroes in my mind."
Currently under construction in Pennsylvania, the Flight 93 National Memorial will honor the memory of the 40 heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice against terrorism. The Families are coordinating with the National Park Service and other Flight 93 partner organizations to help build the memorial, renew the historic landscape of the 2,200-acre site and promote a deeper understanding of what happened on 9/11. Dedication of the memorial is scheduled to take place upon completion of the first phase of its construction, on September 11, 2011.
Flags bearing the official September 11 design are traveling with the motorcycles from Newark, NJ to Union City, CA site of the nation's first official Flight 93 Memorial. On September 11, 2010 at 12 noon PDT the RW40 motorcyclists and others will raise the flag in a ceremony at the Union City Flight 93 Memorial in Sugar Mill Landing Park where it will remain until 2011 then accompany the riders to reside permanently in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. A series of memorial services, with slated appearances by Michele Obama and Laura Bush, will occur simultaneously at the Pennsylvania memorial site and at the Somerset Flag Pole, spiritually linking both coasts in honor of the day's heroes.
The Union City Flight 93 Memorial consists of 40 "remembrance stones," rose-colored granite monuments, one for each of the heroes of Flight 93. The driving force behind the Union City memorial is Michael L. Emerson, a Desert Storm veteran and U.S. Marine with 10 years' service to the nation. Emerson also belongs to the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign Steering Committee.
To make a donation and learn more about the Union City Flight 93 Memorial in California, visit www.93Memorial.com; the Shanksville Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania, visit www.HonorFlight93.org; Ride with the 40, visit www.RideWithThe40.org.