Thousands Of Bikers Ride For 9/11 First Responders

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- Roughly 5,000 motorcyclists took a nearly 40-mile ride as part of the observance for the September 11 anniversary.

The annual event is to support those first responders involved in that day 11 years ago.

With the roar of engines in the air, a sea of motorcycles flew down Route 54 and onto Route 15 in Lycoming County.

Nearly 5,000 bikers took part in the 9/11 Memorial Coalition`s annual ride that honors the first responders involved in the rescue and cleanup during the September 11 attacks.

“To memorialize and also to say thank you to the fire and police that are integral to our safety in this country,” said Tank Baird, the president of the Coalition.

The coalition, a non-profit group, kicked off its ride at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company near Montgomery.

Riders then cruised 37 miles through Williamsport, Montoursville, and Muncy as eager crowds cheered them on.

Many continue to be shocked by the turn out.

“You would think that people would stop participating but I think it gets bigger every year, it`s amazing,” said onlooker Shawna Hester of Elimsport.

The 9/11 Memorial Coalition was formed shortly after the attacks in 2001 by a group of dedicated motorcyclists who wanted to show their solidarity to the fire fighters, police and EMT’s who risked their lives to save others.

“The first ride basically took place four days after and it was basically just a protest ride and then from then on it has evolved into what it is today,” said Gary Smith, the Coalition’s vice president.

And the coalition continues to pay special tribute to those who make the ultimate sacrifice by supporting those killed in the line of duty. The coalition collects donations for local volunteer first responders killed or injured on the job.

“Makes me feel just like it was when I was in the service,” said rider Chuck Phillips from Hughesville. “You got to help each other.”

The 9/11 Memorial Coalition’s annual ride is free and open to anyone who enjoys riding. For more information on the Coalition or how to donate, visit its website.