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2024 Sandbox Route SitRep Day 1

RFTW Sandbox SITREP Day 1

May 26, 2024
There was lots of loud thunder and lightning last night. Wow.
Sandbox staging opened and bikes started rolling in.
The luggage truck was open and for $15 you could put two bags on the truck and have them pack it for you until we get to Marseilles. What a great idea. A load off your bike AND your belongings won’t get wet.
This years Route Coordinator, Blue opened the meeting. There was a prayer, the Pledge and the Anthem. Blue called up an FNG to lead the Pledge. Nice.
Military, Blue Star and Gold Star families were present … all are recognized each day.
Gump, a POW for 22 days during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was asked to say a few words. He said those 22 days were hell but he’s  living his best life now. Nine in his unit were killed. They’re forever in his heart. He can’t wait to be surrounded by 200 brothers and sisters when he visits that wall.
There were Road Guard reminders and hand signal prompts. Taz read the bio and handed it off to an FNG to carry to the Middle East Conflicts Wall. The FNG today has a special connection to the bio read. That’s why we ride.
Taz introduced a Gold Star mom, and who said she wasn’t going to go all the way. But she had to honor her son, Dylan Morola. As I watched, Taz helped her down the incline from the stage. There’s so much honor and chivalry.
The FNGs were called up  and we showered them with hugs and “Welcome homes!!!”
It was time to get on the road. Our Road Guards are doing a great job of getting us on the Interstate. It must be precise and we follow the signals. Our RC is in the lead, with the platoon of Road Guards ahead of her to stop traffic at crossroads and on-ramps if necessary. When moving onto the Interstate the RC starts slow allowing more and more bikes to move onto the highway. As the platoons enter the road the RC speeds up in small increments until we reach just around highway speed.
Even more intense is getting the group onto a two-lane road and keeping us together as we travel. But it happened. And seemed to go smoothly. Kudos to the Road Guards.
We stopped at VFW Post 257 for lunch and thanked them vigorously. It’s a cool stop with a helicopter and a tank.
Gnome was standing in the lunch line. He’s from Riverside, CA, and wears dog tags with name, rank and serial numbers. He carries their tags (22 of them). There’s a variety of veterans who’ve passed.  There are some who had Agent Orange, POWs, the 22, KIA. These are wounded warriors and fallen heroes who he’s helped escort to their final resting place. He said he has probably escorted 60 of them, some of which he doesn’t have a tag for
The group went to the Flight 93 Memorial. The Park Ranger gave a presentation and spoke of some of the people on the flight, including a flight attendant and a COO of a company that produces heart pumps.
He went through that last morning of 9-11 nearly minute-by-minute from the time the flight left the ground. He made those people come to life. And he talked about their phone calls home, or to other loved ones. As it turned out there were 40 people on that flight who lost their lives. Forty people whose friends and families had their lives changed forever. Forty heroes. They diverted that flight by making a plan to fight back against the hijackers. And that plan happened when they said, “Let’s roll.”
The plane hit the ground at a speed of 553 mph. The passengers and crew stopped that plane 121 miles away from hitting its intended target of the White House.
Riding with us is Bob Weaver. He was the first police officer to arrive at the scene. He described what he saw. It was horrific.
One platoon did an outreach to a small museum in Belmont, Ohio, the Tri-State Military Veterans Museum. Just prior to arriving the rain started and then poured while everyone visited. The museum is dedicated to the history of military veterans in the Belmont County and Ohio Valley. It’s small but has so much … photos, uniforms, challenge coins, to name a few.
The group made it to a fine dinner at the Ohio Valley Mall. There were many contributors to provide a meal of fried chicken, potatoes, green beans, salad and dessert.
After dinner a Flight 93 challenge coin was auctioned off. It went for a lot of money. Way to go, Taz.
Where are we going?  Wall to Wall …
Peppermint Patti
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” – Elmer Davis.

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