June Softly

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ride with the 40

9/1/11 LITTLETON - Diane Shelley was passing out American flags on Thursday.

"It's going to be very exciting and very emotional," she said while preparing the welcome at Rocky Mountain Harley Davidson in Littleton.

The barbecue was full burgers and tents were set up. The group waiting says they were honored to be there when the caravan of Harleys arrived.

It's called Ride with the 40. It is a cross-country motorcycle ride to remember the victims of United Flight 93. The flight crashed near Shanksville, Pa. on Sept. 11, 2001 after it was one of four flights hijacked by terrorists.

"She was the best friend I ever had," 73-year-old Eric Bay said.

His wife Lorraine was a flight attendant on Flight 93. She, along with the other passengers and crew members, fought back against the hijackers. It's believe they helped intentionally crash the plane so it would not hit its intended target.

"Forty people chose love that day," Sandy Dahl said.

Her husband, Jason Dahl, was the pilot of Flight 93. She lives in Ken Caryl.

"They knew they were going to die and they weren't going to take anyone else with them," Sandy Dahl said.

She was part of a big group of people waiting in the parking lot as the caravan of motorcycles made their way up a hill. An enormous flag was hanging from the ladder of a Littleton Fire truck and firefighters looked on. The line of Harleys roared in, but did not drown out the cheers.

Bay says each stop since they left San Francisco on Monday has been powerful.

"Tears come to your eyes when you see the people," he said.

It was an end to a 350-mile journey on Thursday, day four of the trip. The ride ends in Shanksville on the 10th anniversary of the attack.

For all the people at the event that remember exactly what they were doing that day, Paul Turner is just learning about it. He'll be 10 years old on Sept. 17.

"It happened six days before I was born," he said. "I know it was so sad. I know it's about when the Twin Towers came down."

That means a lot to Bay and Dahl.

"What we have to do is educate our children, however painful it may be, to make sure this never happens again in our lifetime," she said.

Paul's mom, Kathy Turner, agrees.

"If they don't learn about it, they can't work to change what happens in their future," she said.

That is why this Ride with the 40 will gladly travel 2,700 miles over 13 days. It is a small gesture, they say, to honor heroes and remind us all to remember what that day taught us.

Dahl says it is a reminder that life is precious.

"Grab the people closest to you," she said.

Since the cross-country ride started in 2008, it has raised around $150,000 for the Shanksville Memorial. The first two rides traveled from Newark, N.J. to San Francisco, the intended route of Flight 93. This year, the riders reversed the route to end at the sight of the crash.

9 News Report

Visit the official Ride with the 40 website

Track The Journey Here    Approximate Distance: 2825 miles

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