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Letterkenny hosts first 9/11 Patriot Day Celebration

September 11, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • From left, Donna Lane, Tom Farleigh, Mike Krug and Chris Reed pause for a moment of prayer before a motorcycle ride to Shanksville, Pa., on Saturday.
Dana Brown, Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Letterkenny Army Depot was the site of the first 9/11 Patriot Day Celebration to both commemorate the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and raise funds for Freedom Community Park, a proposed multifield sports complex for Chambersburg-area youths.

Pennsylvania state Sen. Richard Alloway II, R-Franklin/Adams/York, sponsored the day's events, which included a 5K race, memorial church service, motorcycle rally and golf scramble and concluded with a barbecue dinner, music and fireworks.

About 60 motorcyclists gathered to ride to the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel in Shanksville, Pa., accompanied by two Humvees and a Pennsylvania State Police escort.

The riders planned to place a wreath at the site to commemorate all those who lost their lives in the United Flight 93 highjacking crash.

"It stirs my emotions," Paul Schank of Orrtanna, Pa., said before the group left.

"This was a great idea," said Lisa Cronauer of Fayetteville, Pa.

Motorcyclist Dave Runyon of Chambersburg said he was joining the ride to Shanksville "just to pay my respects."

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Before leaving for the ride, the motorcyclists joined about 50 other people for a memorial service of remembrance at the Letterkenny Lake pavilion.

War veteran Tim Wright brought a mobile memorial display to honor the lives of local soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since October 2001. His display included all of the names of fallen servicemen and women from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

He just added another soldier's name the night before, he said.

"I don't want these people to be forgotten," Wright said. "I want people to remember and honor these people."

Kirstie Domer, a spokeswoman for Alloway, said the intent of the daylong celebration was to provide an opportunity to look back in remembrance and also look forward on behalf of area youths.

"It's all patriotic," Domer said.

Alan Kline of Chambersburg spearheads the effort between the Hamilton Heights Youth League and the Scotland Broncos Youth League to build an all-purpose sports complex for youth baseball, softball, football, lacrosse and soccer.

The group hopes to raise $60,000 to get the park project off the ground, Kline said.

"Freedom Community Park is about youth and developing these kids into good citizens," Kline said. "That's what our country is all about."

Domer said the hope is the Patriot Day Celebration becomes an annual event.

"It's just a celebration of our freedoms," she said.

Tom Farleigh of Biglerville, Pa., summed up what being a patriot means to him in three words.

"Just being American," he said.

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