Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Biking for a Memorial

Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Biking for a Memorial

Article excerpt

FIVE bicyclists associated with America's airline industry, and a supporting recreational vehicle driver and co-driver--among them a man and woman who both lost their spouses aboard American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001--have contributed to the cost of three memorials to honor those who died in the terrorist attacks.

As they rode their bikes--traveling between destinations aboard the RV--to pay tribute to 33 airline crewmembers, they made fund-raising stops in Phoenix, Ariz.; Dallas, Texas; and Somerset and Shanksville, Pa.

The two-day stops included "loop" rides, in which people wishing to donate money to the cause could ride around various communities with the group.

The 33-day coast-to-coast trip started at Dockweiler Beach, Calif., near Los Angeles International Airport--which was to be the destination of the four doomed, hijacked aircraft--and ended at the Pentagon.

The Airline Ride Across America raised about $100,000 for each of the three 9/11 memorials.

The riders stopped at Fort Bliss, Texas, home of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, and later at Fort Campbell, Ky., home of the 101st Airborne Division.

While at Fort Bliss the group took a break at Milam Physical Fitness Center, named in honor of MAJ Ronald Milam, an air defense artillery officer who died in the attack on the Pentagon.

"I am deeply humbled," said Thomas Heidenberger, organizer of the Airline Ride Across America. "Our lives have changed; you Soldiers are here to protect all of us now," he told a group of Soldiers who had come to cheer the group on. …

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