One of the individuals who saw the horrible after affects of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks first hand, will be the featured speaker at the memorial service that kicks off the 13th Annual 9-11 Memorial Coalition Motorcycle Ride that will be held Thursday, September 11.
Dr. Frederick Hellman, Chief Medical Examiner for Delaware County, was among the medical examiners on the crash scene to examine and identify the remains of those victims of Flight 93, near Shanksville on that fateful day,
“We think that it is very significant to have an individual to speak at the memorial service before the ride who can bear witness to what took place that day,” Thomas “Tank” Baird, one of the organizers of the 9-11 Ride, told Webb Weekly. “Dr. Hellman was there at Shanksville to see the human cost of what happened first hand on 9-11 and it is something that he will never forget and it is something that he does not want the rest of us to forget either. In fact, I understand he will be joining us on the ride.”
Baird said the Memorial Motorcycle Ride has a dual quality to it. On the one hand it commemorates and remembers the victims of the September 11 attacks. And on the other hand it is a patriotic celebration of all the freedoms that we enjoy in ths country and honors those who have sacrificed to preserve those freedoms. The ride also celebrates and honors First Responders and their role in the protection and preservation of public safety.
He pointed out that the local 9-11 Memorial Coalition Motorcycle Ride is the oldest and longest routed Memorial Ride in the country.
The ride began humbly the Saturday after the September 11 attacks with just 85 cyclists; in 2012 the Ride had 4,237 riders with organizers hoping for more than 5,000 this year.
“As the years have gone by this ride has gotten bigger and bigger,” Baird said. “The number of spectators along the Ride route has grown remarkably. In a sense all the people who watch along the route are as much of a participant in the Memorial Ride as those who ride the motorcycles. By viewing the Ride the spectators along the route are honoring and supporting the riders as well as honoring and remembering the victims of the 9-11 attacks.”
This year’s ride begins as it has for the past few years, at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company, along Route 54, just outside of Montgomery. It proceeds to Route 15 goes north over Montgomery Pike into South Williamsport, turning onto West Southern Avenue to Euclid Avenue in DuBoistown and then crosses the Abram Howard Memorial Bridge (the former Arch Street Bridge, along Arch Street to West Third Street, along West Third and East Third Streets, through Williamsport, Loyalsock Township and Montoursville and then along Lycoming Mall Drive, onto Route 220 North into Hughesville, turning onto Route 405 in Hughesville and continuing through Muncy and Montgomery, turning right onto Route 54 and ending up back at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company.
Activities for the ride begin at 2 p.m. at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company, where numerous vendors will be on hand as well as some musical entertainment. There will be a Memorial Service featuring Dr. Hellman, as keynote speaker at 5:15 p.m. The ride then starts at 6 p.m. Following the Memorial Ride riders and the public is invited to return to the Clinton Township Fire Company, for post-ride entertainment and food sold by area food vendors.
“This post-ride gathering is not a ‘biker party’ as some detractors of the ride have claimed,” Baird said. “It is a time of fellowship, fun and reflection as riders and spectators alike reflect on the ride and what has occurred along the ride route. Many of those who have participated in the ride like to share with others stories of what they have observed along the ride route and some of their observations are quite moving.”
Baird urged that riders wishing to participate, try and pre-register for the ride, so that they can sign the release form contained with it, but you can still participate even if you don’t. You can pre-register by accessing their website at: www.911MemorialCoalition.org and you can have any questions you might have about the ride answered by the website.