Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Airline Ride Across America

A Tribute to the 33 Crewmembers of September 11, 2001

A 33-day cross country fundraising bicycle ride to honor the 33 flight crew members who lost their lives on the hijacked flights of September 11 is being organized. The project, known as the Airline Ride Across America, is designed to raise funds for all three 9-11 memorials -- the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, the World Trade Center Memorial and the Pentagon Memorial.

According to a press release about the project, the ride, which will begin on April 2, will start outside of Los Angeles International Airport, the destination of the four fateful flights of that day, with stops in Shanksville, Pa., and the World Trade Center in New York City before finishing on the grounds of the proposed Pentagon Memorial.

The ride is being organized by several people with ties to crews who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, including Capt. Thomas Heidenberg, whose wife Michelle was the senior flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 77, the aircraft that was crashed into the Pentagon.
"The flight crew members from those four flights have often been forgotten or overlooked. Just as everyone who lost their life that day going about their job, so were these crew members. They faced incredible struggles and did the best they could to survive an unimaginable situation," said Heidenberger. "I want this 'Ride Across America' to honor those 33 lives as well as all the other victims who experienced that terrible day. Any and all funds raised from this ride will be donated equally among the three memorials. We must never forget their sacrifices nor the sacrifice and spirit of survival our country felt that day."
During the 33-day ride, each flight crew member will have their own day of remembrance. On many legs of the ride various family members will join the riding team. Part of the support team includes Sheri Burlingame whose husband Captain Chic Burlingame was the pilot on Flight 77.
"9-11 is a day that means so much to so many -- a day of tragedy, a day of loss and a day to reflect. But I want it also to be a solemn reminder that individuals do make differences. Flight crews did their best to alert others and react to the attacks. I hope this ride makes people remember that and reminds them to help build these memorials," said Heidenberger.
The project's website says, "This is a fund-raising effort to bring about a public awareness of their sacrifice, sustain their memory, and insure that they will not be forgotten. On our bikes and in their honor, we will complete a coast to coast trip symbolic of their mission on that fateful day."

For more information, please visit http://www.airlineride.org/ or send an email to info@airlineride.org