Driving, Shanksville, Remmers and the Pirates

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2011

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Where I stayed
With My Friends Alex and Annie Remmers

Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Saturday, May 7, 2011

Up early...too early. Thought I'd get up at 6:30, but blogging until 2:30 told me I needed another hour of sleep. Up at 7:30, packed the car and on kissed Sandy goodbye until Monday. Drove to Pittsburgh. It's a bit over 5 hours from Philly. I decided to take a small detour to stop at Shanksville, Pennsylvania; the place where United flight 93 went down on September 11, 2001. When I started thinking about it, this two-week trip has been pretty amazing for me in that regard. I visited ground zero in NYC for the first time with Michele. That was quite moving. Then I was at the Phillies game on Sunday night when it was announced on the news (not at the park) that the US had killed Bin Laden. And it only seemed fitting that I visit the United Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville. And I'm glad I did.

Jill (my Garmin) took me off I-76 on some two-lane roads to get to the Memorial. It took about 20 minutes. The thing I could't figure out is why on the way back when she took me another way, it only took me 10 minutes to get back on I-76. Sometimes I just don't understand Jill...yea, like all the other women in my life sometimes! (Well, welcome to therapy Mr. Colee!!! LOL)

Anyway, I am glad I made the detour. There is a beautiful memorial and a chapel as well. The memorial includes a tribute with etchings of names and faces of the flight attendants and crew. It's the central piece of the memorial. And then on around each side of that, they have benches with the words, "A Grateful Nation" on one, "Will Forever Honor" on the second, "The Courage and Patriotism" on the third and on the fourth, "Of the Flight 93 Passengers."
Under each of these phrases, are etched the names of all the passengers on UA Flight 93. There is a also a piece of the WTC made into the with the words "UA93." And several trees have been planted in their honor.

Then I went around to the chapel. The caretaker invited me in. We began talking. He said the chapel was an old country church built in 1901. Sometime later it was no longer used as a church and was purchased by a local farmer who stored grain in it. Then, just one month after 9/11, a man from Uniontown, PA drove by and noticed it was for sale. He tried to buy it, but the realtor said it had already been sold, but took his name. When the original sale fell through the realtor contacted the guy and he ended up buying it. He wanted to turn it into a 9/11 Memorial Chapel. He began restoring it. Fortunately, he was buying his lumber and supplies at 84 Lumber Company. The President of 84 Lumber noticed he was buying a lot of materials and talked to the man. She came out to see what he had done. This was August 29, 2002, just weeks before the first anniversary of 9/11. She told him he'd never get done by September 11 and offered her help. She first presented him with a check for $23K to help with the cost and then paid for four teams of workers to work around the clock to finish the job....It was completed on September 10. They now have a chapel inside and keep it open with donations and selling t-shirts and other memorabilia. Very cool...and very moving. As I say, I am very glad I stopped by...and I suggest it to anyone. It's worth the half hour detour regardless of how your Garmin takes you!

Then on to Pittsburgh and Alex and Annie Remmers. Alex and I go way back to playing pool for hours at Ride the 9 and playing in State Farm Pool League together. I actually helped Alex and Annie move into their house in Bloomington in 2004. I told him I loved the layout and if he ever moved, let me know. Alex called me the following August and said Annie got transferred to Pittsburgh and would we be interested in buying it? Long story short, we ended buying the house, and that's the one we currently live in.

The Remmers have been nice enough to put me up for one night. I'll head to Columbus to visit and stay with Henry Lee again tomorrow night. Is it just me, or am I just traveling throughout the country "sponging" off my old friends????? Hmmmm. I guess I should feel guilty...OK, now I'm over it! I'm reminded of what Scarlet O"hare said in "Gone With The Wind " - I have always been dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Alex and I left for the game at about 5:00, but first a stop at a Pittsburgh tradition, Primanti Brothers. They have many specialty sandwiches, but the most popular is a large burger on thick bread, with french fries and cole slaw right on the sandwich...now that was weird, but very tasty! The story goes that Joe Primanti sold sandwiches to truckers from a cart in the "strip" near the Allgheny River. Later he moved to a permanant site on 18th street which is still on the "strip." Seems a guy came in with a load of potatoes, wanting to see if they were frozen. Joe cooked some up in his kitchen and they looked good to customers, so he put some right on their sandwiches. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Then it was on to the game. Parked three blocks away $10. Walked to the park. It is a beautiful park. I found out later it's even more beautiful after dark and the city skyline lights up. They did it right with this ballpark. Very well done. Love the bushes in center field that spell out "Pirates." Noticed the walkways were not as wide as some of the other parks, but wide enough, and you could see the action while walking around any part of the park. I'd go back here again. Very pretty ballpark. Alex got tickets $30 about 20 rows behind the Pirate dugout. Excellent seats.

And I am back to my winning ways as the Pirates beat the Astros 6-1. I am going home with an overall 7-5 record
for the home team. And it was fireworks night...beautiful fireworks over the Ohio River with the City of Pittsburgh in the background. Very nice.

Back to Alex's, wrote this blog update and off to bed for some much-needed rest.
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