Big day.  Tomorrow is the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 so I wanted to put the big flag on the bike and do big things with it this weekend:  A PGR mission at Lake Forest College just a few miles from home) and a WWR mission 50 miles south.

The mission at the college was to assist in the opening ceremony.  Future SEALS from Great Lake Naval Training Station were going to be recognized.  Since there would be no riding I kept the 5-by-8 flag in the saddlebag to make easier the 50 miles that would follow.

Both coaches visited with us.  LF Head Coach Jim Catanzaro is a PGRider.  Ripon Head Coach Keith Hensler spoke with our Oliver Davidson, whose wife attended school there.

The plan was for us to take one side of the "tunnel" and for the proto-SEALS, supplemented with LEOs, to take the other -- everyone holding flags.  When the LFC players took the field, they would run between our two flaglines.

Well, the guys lost their ride from GLNTS to LFC.  So the sailors took the commuter train.  It is only a ten-minute ride, but the trains make the run in two-hour intervals.  And the college is a mile from the train station, which they would walk.  They couldn't get there in time.

So we recruited some of the students and it worked fine.  Coach Catanzaro wanted us to line the bikes on the field and spin the engines as his players ran past, so I had put the big flag up.  The Ripon players, entering the field through a different gate, would have to run between our bikes somewhat less gloriously.

We remained on the field for the National Anthem, sung by a girl name Megan who sang it well.  Then we rode the length of the field during the coin toss and returned to the street.

I backtracked the logical path to the train station when I saw five guys who demonstrated good enthusiasm for my big flag.  I stopped in the middle of Sheridan Road.  "Are you guys sailors?"

They were.  I U-turned and took them toward the field by the most direct route until we encountered the campus police.  I hope they were recognized at  half-time.

photos:  Lake Forest College

Well, I was out of time.  I pulled the flag down and hit I-294.  As I learned on the Jacksonville Mission, even with the flag down the big mast affects gas mileage, especially at high speed.  But I didn't have time to stop for gas -- I didn't even have time to change the card or battery in the camera.

Commander Dan Shanower was an inteligence officer.  He was preparing a breifing on the WTC hit when the Pentagon was hit.  He attended Naperville public schools and the Carroll College, also in Wisconsin about 80 miles from Ripon.

Rear Admiral Richard Porterfield was director of Naval Intelligence on that terrible day.  He was to make an address for Naperville's 10-year anniversary event tomorrow.  He arrived today and we were to escort him to the Naperville VFW.

When I got to Naperville the admiral was already shaking hands.  It was a good thing I didn't stop for gas.  I put the flag up and ran toward the group.  I had to hope there woiuld be enough capacity in the card and battery to keep the camera going. 

photos:  We assemble and meet Rear Admiral Richard Porterfield in the staging area.

Then came the call to mount.  Since I arrived last, I was positioned last.  I ran to the front of the column and worked my way back, shooting as I went.

photos:  We line-up, getting ready to move.

Since I was last of the bikes, the admiral was right behind me at first.  Then, two late-arrivers fell-in behind me.  We moved through town with good LEO support and when we arrived there were flaglines in place.

photos:  Traveling.

We parked at the rear of the lot and walked toward the building.  The admiral had been delivered to the building and walked down to meet us.  Doug formally introduced him and then Admiral Porterfield addressed us.

When I am moving around and thinking about what I am doing, I am not listening.  (That is often an inconvenience during breifings.)  This time, however, I did hear the first few remarks of the admiral.  He reflected on his return from Vietnam and marveled at how this welcome was so different.

Which was just what this group most wanted to hear.

photos:  We arrive at the VFW.

And then there were presentations by WWR RC Doug Askren, Operation Welcome You Home (Donna Morsovillo and Corporal Jim), the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and others.  And then Mayor of Naperville George Pradel addresesed us with some energy.

In the middle of it all, I had to run to the bike to change the battery and card.  But since I don't listen I wouldn't have know what I might have missed even if I didn't miss it.

photos:  Presentations are made to Admiral Porterfield and his wife.

A group picture and done.  A wedding 1/2 mile east of of the VFW was being photographed in front of City Hall.  Since my camera had lots of capacity now, I took the bride's photo too.  Mayor Pradel had a huge flag draped on the building.  The two searchlights in front of the building send parallel beams skyward as a reminder of the two WTC towers.  It was a good 9/11 background for the wedding set.  I thought about the circle of life.  I thought about the violent redirection of so many lives.  I thought about career naval officers.  I thought about everything but gas.

Then I thought about gas and put five gallons and one quart into my five gallon tank. 

photos:  The trip back home.

And then I thought about Dan.  Some three dozen warriors were killed together in the Pentagon and now rest together in a part of Arlington that overlooks the Pentagon.  When Dan was buried there, his folded casket flag was presented to his supervisor at the Pentagon, RADM Richard Porterfield.  The admiral then presented the folded flag to Donald and Pat, Dan's parents.

Dan arrived at work at 0300 every day.  He supervised 32 who supported the breifings he made every morning.  He had a high-profile, high-pressure job.  He was in his office hard at work at 0941 when American Flight 77 hit.

Happy Patriots Day.