Ride Report posted for George Park

We assembled at Firebase 69 in the late afternoon heat to gear up for the welcome home of SSG Shannon who would be arriving from Paris to meet up with his family – as well as the WWR, A Hero’s Welcome and the USO.  The Shannon family – his wife and their 3 young children, father, mother and sister – arrived in time for a chance for us to talk with them before the safety briefing. During the briefing Mrs. Shannon got up to say a few words about her husband and his exemplary service, clearly proud of what he had accomplished while still in his mid-20s!

Over 15 bikes and 5 cages as well as some new WWR members were in attendance as we departed for the International Terminal at Philadelphia International from FB 69 to try and wedge the long line into a parking spot. T jumped to the front of the line to move cars out of the way so that we had plenty of space to park in order to run up to the 3rd floor of the International terminal to greet SSG Shannon.

SSG Shannon’s plane landed promptly at 4:02pm but due to the exchange of flight numbers between Air France and Delta not everyone was convinced we were in the right location – especially when after a half hour SSG Shannon failed to appear! As it turns out we were all in the right place and were able to greet SSG Shannon with a substantial flag line and a warm welcome as he entered the lobby of Terminal A West.

After SSG Shannon said his hello’s we departed A West to have some of the WWR escort him and his family to the waiting cars and motorcycles while the rest of the WWR split off to say good luck to a Company of Airmen departing for service overseas. During that time the Philadelphia Police Department – who kept a watch over our rides and went above and beyond to help us out – called a patrol car to replace the State Trooper for an escort to 95 for the start of our 75 mile journey to take SSG Shannon home.

The rides down 95 and 476 were not escorted by LEO but the group held the line without indent until we reached 76 where we would have State Police escort for nearly the entire trip from 76 to 422 near our destination in Sinking Springs, PA. Dave handled the LEO support perfectly and Maria kept everyone notified we were coming. A few bikes joined us along the way adding to the escort, enjoying the sunny weather. The final part of the Journey took us down 222 and 724 to the last turn onto Morgan Drive and then into our final destination the Beverly Hills Tavern – 77.6 miles from the Philadelphia Airport.
SSG Shannon and his family gathered around with the WWR as we coined him and Maria from A Hero’s Welcome provided him with a certificate. SSG Shannon got in front of the group to say a few words to everyone thanking them for their efforts on behalf of him and his family. The Shannon family then went to their welcome home celebration inside of the Tavern (after a short trip to visit the local fire company).

The WWR departed around 7-730pm for the ride home after taking a quick break, to unfurl flags, to get gas and to take a few minutes to reflect on the day. While the escort was a long one not a single person uttered a single complaint – a testament to the resolve of those gathered to support the troops and their families. Thanks to all who attended, without you and your dedication SSG Shannon and his family would not have the memory of his welcome home they do now.