Ride Report for Ride Captain Bob Abrams “RJ”

As riders criss-crossed the country last week, escorting steel and riding in remembrances, many of us mounted up and rode with conflicting emotions and a renewed sense of purpose.  Another 9/11 has come and gone, reminding us of the continuing danger and our un payable debt to first responders and those who step into harm’s way on our behalf.

Veteran’s Network Committee of Northern Illinois is a small organization that works tirelessly to raise awareness of the challenges facing returning vets and to raise money for small Honor Flights, generally 4-8 WWII heroes at a time.  For me, the look on ONE vets face as he or she comes down the terminal and sees our flag line is worth the effort; eight is an extravaganza.

After two days in Washington, DC our vets and their traveling companions kept their spirits up even after a 2-hour bomb-threat delay in Baltimore, MD. Ever patient, our riders bided time outside Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport until word came that the flight was in, then sprinted into the terminal to form a proper reception, flags and all.  It was well worth the wait.  We greeted, hugged and thanked our heroes, then helped them collect their luggage and board waiting buses.

An hour away, in Hebron, IL, site of our secondary staging, excitement grew,  but the 2-hour delay cost us our Wisconsin State Police escort.  Thankfully, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Sgt. Gary Coleman had one of his squads escort us through Milwaukee County, where we were then met by Waukesha County and then Walworth County squad cars, taking us to the IL/WI State Line.

Hebron (IL) PD and FD picked us up at the border and waited while we paused in Hebron to pick up some more riders for the final leg to Woodstock, IL, our final destination.  Half of Hebron must’ve been lining that street, waving flags and cheering.

Once in Woodstock, our heroes were helped out of the buses and onto their seats of prominence as we expressed our gratitude with small tokens and heartfelt words.

Another 9/11 has come and gone.  All in all, this one went pretty well.  As I said after making our presentations, “God bless the United States of America”.

Respectfully submitted,

Bob Abrams “RJ”