The roar of thousands of motorcycles helps provide a symbolic name to this year’s annual 9-11 Motorcycle Ride to Remember, which will take place on Sunday, September 11.
On that day, the 9/11 Memorial Coalition and a cast of thousands will once again trek through 42 miles of Lycoming County to make good on a promise to “Never Forget.”
This “rolling memorial” is dedicated to those who lost their lives that day and those killed in the war on terror. “Over the years, we have been told repeatedly how important this event is to the riders. The community has told us the same thing by way of attendance and patience with traffic control,” said Thomas ‘Tank’ Baird, president of the coalition.
Starting as a small angry protest ride just four days after the attack, it has become more appropriately a memorial and an opportunity to honor veterans and first responders. “The PBS documentary ‘Remember-Honor-Ride’ about the organic growth of the event had an impressive Nielsen rating, and the crowds curbside and growing number of participating motorcycles all together tell me that America is still hurting, even after all these years,” said Chief Todd Winder of the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company. Casey Parker, the newest member of the coalition, while speaking about the ride, said, “The emotional response, signs, and flags along the route tend to restore your faith in America.”
This year’s theme is “Let Freedom Roar,” a reference to the sound that thousands of American-made motorcycles make. The coalition will have t-shirts available with the logo and slogan.
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 recognition and gratitude for what the ride is trying to demonstrate.
Food and various vendors will be at the fire department grounds before and after the ride. The band Pepper Street will play after the ride during a time of fellowship, which has become a tradition for the event.
The 9-11 Memorial Ride starts and ends at Clinton Township Fire, Route 54, Montgomery. Gates open at 10 a.m., the memorial service starts at 2 p.m., and the ride begins at 3 p.m. The ride is free, but donations are appreciated. The service is open to all riders and non-riders. Please consult the ride map at 911memorialcoalition.org., but the ride route is as follows: the ride begins at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company, along Route 54, just outside of Montgomery. It proceeds to Route 15 going north over the 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.