The presentation of a donated drone to local law enforcement officials, and remarks from a former combat Medevac pilot as a guest speaker, are among the highlights of this year’s 17th Annual 9-11 Memorial Motorcycle Ride, which will take place on the roads of Lycoming County this coming Tuesday, September 11.
Sara Christiansen, a former combat Medevac pilot, who has done several tours of tours of duty in Iraq, is the featured speaker.
“Supporting and recognizing first responders such as Sara is one of the main reasons we do this ride, along of course, with being a rolling memorial to those who lost their lives on September 11th,” Tom “Tank” Baird, one of the organizers for the event, told Webb Weekly. “Sara is a great example of excellence and dedication and service to her country in first responding, and she is motorcyclist herself, and will also be participating in the ride.”
The 9-11 Memorial Coalition will also be presenting a drone to local law enforcement, which law enforcement officials have already begun to be trained in. The drone was paid for by funds raised by the Coalition from sale of ride-related merchandise.
In addition, the Memorial Coalition awards several scholarships to first responders wishing to further their educations.
“The interest in this Ride seems to grow. We seem to get more and more bikers each year, and the number of people standing along the curbs along the route grows as well. I think that many people who watch the ride regard it as a good way to show their patriotism. We see a lot of flags being waved. The Ride has become sort of a tradition. This is everyone’s event. It is for the spectators as well as for the riders.”
The ride participants, according to Baird, are moved and gratified by the overwhelming turnout of people viewing the ride and showing their support He said several churches along the route have also chosen to ring their bells as the riders pass by and this gives the ride both a solemn and perhaps a celebratory quality to the ride as these churches choose to remember but also show a recognition and gratitude for what the ride is trying to demonstrate.
“We do this ride because we don’t want people to forget the sacrifices and the terrible toll of 9-11,” Baird said. “We believe that an event like this is a great way to commemorate those who were lost and to channel our grief and anger about that loss.”
Baird said the 9-11 Coalition Memorial Motorcycle Ride is the oldest and longest routed 9-11 Memorial Ride in the country.
This year’s ride 37-mile begins as it has for the past several 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), into Williamsport 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.
“We are getting great cooperation from the City of Williamsport in their part of the route,” Baird said. “In addition to the city police, city employees are helping to block the intersections where the ride will be going, and that is a great help. We do everything we can to ensure the safety of this Ride. Sheriff Mark Lusk and Todd Winder of the Clinton Township Fire Company help in planning the safety of the route.”
He said he is also grateful for the help that Susquehanna Trailways give as well. He said they transport the Korean War Veterans of Lycoming County’s Honor Guard both to and from the beginning of the Ride at the Clinton Township Fire Company.
After the ride, there will be vendors, food, refreshments, and musical entertainment. T-shirts, caps, and DVDs of the “Remember Honor Ride” documentary will be on sale.
The gates open for the Ride at 10 a.m. Tuesday, September 11. The Memorial Service is at 5 p.m., and the Ride begins at 6 p.m.
For further information, you can access the Coalition’s website at http://www.9-11memorialcoalition.org.