Spirit of America to feature special activities

Blood drive canceled; event will go on for 9-11

Spirit of America Blood Drive

Even though the blood drive component of Spirit of America has been canceled for 2012, the spirit to honor and remember the victims and heroes of 9-11 lives on at MIS.

The American Red Cross Great Lakes Blood Services Region and Michigan International Speedway were forced to cancel their partnership on this long-standing blood drive after union leaders refused to agree there would be no labor disruptions at the annual blood drive, the speedway will remember the victims and first responders from the tragic events of 9-11 with a special day of activities on Sept. 11.

The meaning of Spirit of America will continue at the speedway and will include special activities yet to be finalized. These activities will last all day as a way to remember the events of 9-11. Also, the “Home of the Brave” exhibit, located in the Michigan Room of the Pit Road Suites, offering remembrance, education and inspiration of 9-11 will be on display.

 “What happened on September 11 was a tragic day in our nation’s history and this is our way to remember all those affected on that day,” track President Roger Curtis said. “We will not cancel the event just because it’s not a blood drive this year; that’s not the spirit of the event. We want to do something in remembrance – something that can also have a huge impact - something that can make people feel as if they are still making a difference.”

Lastly, Unity Field, a collection of 3,000 U.S. flags placed in the speedway’s Lot 10 by veterans from local American Legion chapters will be up. Each flag represents a person who died in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Members of the community are invited to come out on Friday, September 7 to join the staff in the placing of the flags beginning at 10 a.m.

Speedway officials are hopeful a blood drive component will return to the track in coming years.

MIS has worked with the Great Lakes Region of the American Red Cross since 2002 to honor the victims of 9-11 with a blood drive. Since its inception that year, the blood drive has grown into the largest 9-11 blood drive in the nation, with more than 1,300 pints of blood collected every year.

In the past nine years, more than 8,876 pints of blood have been collected at the Spirit of America, positively affecting more than 26,688 lives.

The Red Cross and MIS encourages all eligible donors to find a blood drive in their area and make an appointment to donate by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visiting redcrossblood.org.

© 2014 Michigan International Speedway

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