First, let’s get the details out of the way. Follow the Flag 2011 will take place August 26th and 27th.
Our annual benefit dinner will again pay tribute to First Responders and Veterans and will be at Lutheran School Association (LSA) beginning at 6:30 PM. The flag once again will be presented during the events of the evening.
Saturday August 27th will be our Bike Rally leaving from Coziahr Harley Davidson at noon, with sign ups two hours prior. We will escort the flag to Lincoln’s Tomb in Springfield and do our traditional service and flag exchange. From that location the bike rally will carry on to several locations before ending back in Decatur at the American Legion Post 105 for our second annual Bikes, Blues and BBQ with everyone welcome.
As you may remember, last years flag of tribute was from the USS Arizona battleship in Pearl Harbor. It was such an honor to watch Veterans from every war since WWII attend the dinner and receive the gratitude due them.
This years flag will be from Flight 93, Shanksville Pennsylvania in tribute of the crew and passengers who fought against the terrorist on September 11, 2001, and took the plane down rather than have it used as another weapon aimed at Washington DC. Our motto this year is ……..Flight 93, Freedom Defended.
It is incredibly fitting that on this, the ten year anniversary of 9-11 that we have such a fitting flag of tribute. I know everyone will want to be a part of this event.
In addition to this historic gathering let me add some amazing facts with this story. Before now, there has not been a memorial in Shanksville to those on board FL 93. As of this writing, crews are working franticly to finish the memorial in time for the actual September 11th weekend ceremonies.
If you visited the site today, the only “reception area” is in a former maintenance building with a very small flag pole outside it’s door. With this in mind, after a little discussion, it was decided to send the large 12×20 flag that flew over the Arizona to Shanksville.
Upon speaking with the Shanksville fire chief and people in the National Park Service office there we agreed that the First Responders of the Shanksville area along with some of the National Park Service office would escort the flag onto a hill overlooking the construction zone and do a sunset service in tribute to those fallen in the FL 93 attack as well as those who lost their life at Pearl Harbor. Thus, this flag is the only one that flew at both battle sites when America was attacked in it’s own soil.
Most everyone knows this is the ten year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9-11. However, many do not remember this is also the 70th year of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. And, as long as we’re getting our history lesson, we shall not forget this is also the 150 year anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.
This remarkable flag will have a historic tie to all three events this year as it has traveled from Pearl Harbor, to Shanksville PA and will make its way to Lincoln’s Tomb for a ceremony and flag exchange. We still have much to accomplish in this country and we always have much to be thankful to our God and celebrate of this country as well.
For those of you that will be in attendance and those from out of town, get your reservations early. Last year many business bought tables for their clients and donated a substantial number of tickets back to us to be given out to First Responders and Veterans for the dinner, and we believe will do so again this year as last years dinner sold out quickly.
We had close to 85 bikes on the rally last year and hoping to top the 100 mark this year. It should also be noted that if you are a Vet and want to be a part of the bike rally, we do not turn anyone away. Yes, we did have some cars in the rally last year (for safety sake they are at the back of the pack) , even Boy Scouts participated. This escort is an experience never to forget. With the size of the flag, we let First Responders, Vets, their survivors and civilians carry the flag into and out of the ceremony.
So, join us in saluting our First Responders and Veterans by attending any or all of the events the weekend of August 26th &27th or sending your donations (to the address below) if your not able to make it.
Remember, those who went before us 150 years ago, 70 years ago and 10 years ago, with our theme, that applies to all who went before us……Freedom Defended.