The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

June 25, 2013

History buffs stop in region

Dave Sutor
dsutor@tribdem.com

SHANKSVILLE — The Flight 93 National Memorial might be the most somber spot along the Lincoln Highway.

A United Airlines plane crashed into what was previously an anonymous field on Sept. 11, 2001. Forty passengers and crew members lost their lives after fighting back against the al-Qaida hijackers. By sacrificing themselves, they probably saved the lives of many other Americans, who could have been killed if the plane had reached its destination, likely a target in Washington, D.C.

The nation’s first transcontinental road, which is lined for more than 3,000 miles by beautiful scenery, historical sites, vibrant cities and eclectic art, now bisects the national park that has developed around the crash site.

On Monday, more than 100 individuals stopped at the memorial during the 2013 Lincoln Highway 100th Anniversary Tour.

“It’s a piece of the nation’s psyche,” said John Peters, a resident of The Villages, Fla. who helped promote the drive. “This was one of the significant events on 9/11 and it happened to occur along the Lincoln Highway in the Lincoln Corridor. It would be a shame not to stop here and pay respects and to think about what happened here.”

Mike Curtis, from Brevard, N.C., added, “It’s a really useful reminder to understand and remember the sacrifices that ordinary people made and to understand that greatness comes in different forms.”

The tour is being held to commemorate the highway’s centennial. The Lincoln Highway Association was officially founded on July 1, 1913. The road was dedicated on Oct. 31, 1913. Two groups of drivers, who started on opposite ends of the nation – in New York City and San Francisco – plan to meet in Kearney, Neb., on Sunday. A celebration is planned for the following day.

Participants – many traveling in antique cars – will travel through some major cities and countless little towns before reaching their destination.

“It’s sort of Americana the way it was before interstates and all of the fancy highway stuff,” said Jim Peters of Sudbury, Mass.

The westbound tour, consisting of 72 vehicles, passed through the region on Monday, making several stops, including at the Jean Bonnet Tavern in Bedford and Lincoln Highway Experience Museum in Latrobe, before spending the night in Pittsburgh.

“Everybody is very welcoming, very curious about what we’re doing and why. It’s been very nice,” said Sharon Stover, a Brevard, N.C., resident.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.