Americans United Stops In Jackson On Cross-Country Journey

Three flights on September 11th left Boston en route to Los Angeles. Tragically, they never made it, but the spirit of those flights is still traveling.

The Americans United Flight Across America is an effort by employees of American and United Airlines, military personnel and thousands of volunteers to run an American flag across the country from Boston to Los Angeles. Those involved are trying to symbolically finish the flight. They're also raising money for the September 11th fund.

The runners started on October 11th. On Wednesday morning, they stopped in Jackson.

"To try and show the nation that we've been through tough times before, the flag is a beacon of hope to us, and it stands for our resilience. That's the message that we're trying to send to the nation, that we're going to get through this," 1st Officer Todd Wissing said.

The flag they're carrying is also symbolic. It flew in the cockpit of an F-16 in Southern Iraq. At each stop, a new runner gets to carry it. Leigh Puckett of Florence got her chance Wednesday.

"I was in New York about a month before all this happened, and I'm going back next month. I just wanted to do something, and here in Mississippi I really didn't know what I could do," Puckett said.

The route from Boston to Los Angeles is more than 3000 miles. From Jackson, runners have about 1,500 more to go.

"We're going on foot, on a long road just like the country is on a long road against terrorism. We're taking it one step at a time," Officer Wissing said.

The runners are taking one month to finish their flight. They'll land in Los Angeles on Veteran's Day, November 11th.

By Iris Keogh

Online Producer Glenn Cummins