ROCK HILL, S.C. (WIS) - Drivers were blaring their horns on one of South Carolina’s busiest interstates all morning Wednesday.
They weren’t doing it because they were upset.
On overpasses above Interstate 77, dozens of people lined up holding American flags. They were doing this to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11.
About 18 years ago, Leonard “Len” Farrington of Rock Hill, stood on the Sutton Road Bridge waving an American flag. His wife, Betty, said, “He got up and grabbed the flag off our house and didn’t tell me where he was going.”
Her husband Leonard wanted to send a message to the world that America was still standing. He brought the flag to the same spot every year and was greeted by horns and waves from drivers below.
Leonard passed away in 2012. The Sutton Road Bridge was named after him to recognize the love of country the Navy Veteran showed.
The Rolling Thunder began helping organize this tradition. Harvey Mayhill said, “It’s very humbling knowing that we’re touching people’s lives and we’re helping them remember what happened.”
This group is keeping Leonard’s message alive and honoring those who lost their lives every year.
Toni McIntyre said, “I was actually one of those vehicles that passed under the bridge and saw all those people standing up here with flags.” This was her first time taking part in this.
For many, it’s an emotional day. Carole Reinke’s husband died in Iraq while serving our country. She said being out on the bridge is special. “It means their stories lives on. That’s how we honor them the most by not letting them be forgotten.”
Douglas Higinbotham is a retired firefighter. He said, “We can’t forget. We can’t ever forget.”
Betty, who is 92 now, said she’ll be here next year ready to listen to the sounds of car horns blaring once again.
“My husband came out here the last year he was alive, on oxygen and he could just about walk. He was here though and I’m going to keep doing the same thing,” she said.