Escorted by the flashing lights and blaring sirens
of trucks from the Grantsville Volunteer Fire Department, Craig
Harmon and his 1964 Maxim fire engine named “Spirit of the Lincoln
Way,” came to town last Saturday.
Stopping on Grantsville’s North Center Street, once
part of the original Lincoln Highway —our nation’s first
transcontinental highway — Harmon stepped out of his truck to greet
Grantsville firefighters. Founder and director of the Lincoln
Highway National Museum & Archives in Galion, Ohio, Harmon
immediately raised the nation’s flag that was attached at the top of
the 100-foot ladder on his truck.
Harmon is making a 3,400-mile odyssey across the
nation in his 27,000-pound tower truck. His goal is to stop in each
of the 450 towns along the Lincoln Highway, a road which started at
Times Square in New York City and ended at Lincoln Park in San
Francisco. On Oct. 31, 1913, the Lincoln Highway was officially
dedicated and over 300 towns across America held bon fire
celebrations that night.
After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Harmon decided
to expand the mission of his trip across the old Lincoln Highway to
include a tribute to firefighters nationwide. Since the tragic
events of last September, Harmon has asked firefighters at fire
department he has visited, to sign a fire helmet. Those helmets will
be taken back to New York, and hopefully placed in a memorial
museum, Harmon said in Grantsville last Saturday.
Also on his trip across the Lincoln Highway in
“America’s fire truck,” Harmon is carrying a lock of hair from Pres.
Abraham Lincoln, for whom the transcontinental highway was named.
The fire truck driven by Harmon took part last year in the 54th
Inaugural Parade for President George W Bush. The fire truck also
appeared on NBC’s Today Show at the beginning of Harmon’s Link
Across America tour.
The 45-year-old Harmon is an Eagle Scout, graphic
artist, book publisher, news photographer, computer technician, tree
service owner, coin dealer and a ranger at a Girl Scout Camp. He is
a graduate of Miami University of Ohio.
While in Grantsville Saturday, several of the city’s
volunteer firemen, including Fire Chief Neil Critchlow, climbed to
the top of the 100-foot ladder. Harmon noted that at only two other
stops along his nationwide journey has someone asked to climb to the
top of the ladder.
Grantsville Volunteer firefighters presented Harmon
with their signed fire helmets, as well as Grantsville hats and
“I have never received so much bounty before,” a
smiling Harmon told Chief Critchlow. “All of these items will go
into a museum.”
Critchlow mentioned that even though his department
would be honored to have the items placed in a museum, volunteer
firefighters would also like for Harmon to keep a couple of the
shirts and hats for themselves.
Each community along the route of Harmon’s journey
will be invited to nominate their portion of the Lincoln Highway as
a White House Community Millennium Trail.
The idea of Harmon’s journey, which actually began
in 1999, is part of a 10-year effort to “Honor the Past and Imagine
the Future” in celebrating the Lincoln Highway as “The Show Road of
The celebration will culminate with a nationwide
bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birth in