There’s something in the rumble of motors, the shiny gleam of metal, and the thousands of people streaming by on motorcycles waving the American flag that kicks your heart into overdrive. The 9/11 mortorcycle ride is emotional, patriotic, and now in its 18th year, is gaining steam with each annual event.
From WVIA's Short Takes, "Ride to Remember"
The very first, in those wrenching days following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was more a ride of defiance. Bikers gathered in solidarity to grieve, to act, and to make a statement.
The statement has only intensified, with bikers turning out by the thousands to begin the event with a memorial service, and to ride the 37-mile course that begins and ends at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company, 2311 Rt. 54 Highway, Montgomery, Pa.
The 9/11 Coalition formed to oversee the ride, the memorial service, and the after-event, the planning of which begins nearly a year before the ride. “I do my part to keep it going,” said Todd Winder, Clinton Township Fire Department Chief, and member of the 9/11 Coalition Board of Directors. Winder was approached each year to manage traffic at the intersection of Rt. 15/54 and in the following years, offered more. Now the Clinton Township Fire Department hosts the beginning and end of the ride with the help of numerous community groups and individuals.
Honoring Father John K. Manno
Always an emotional event, this year’s memorial service before the ride will memorialize and honor Father John K. Manno, who passed away this year unexpectedly on May 29. Father Manno, a lifelong bike enthusiast, and member of the 9/11 Coalition Board of Directors, was always at the podium, delivering heartfelt and hopeful words to kick off the ride. His absence leaves a void impossible to fill.
His cherised motorcycle he called “Fred” will lead the riders on this year’s ride, pulled on a trailer as it was during his memorial procession following his funeral services.
2019 Event details
Ride start/finish: Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company, 2311 Rt. 54 Highway, Montgomery, Pa.
Gates open at 10 a.m., Sept. 11 to all registered riders. The memorial service will be at 5 p.m. and the ride begins at 6 p.m.
Each year Winder says he's asked how many participants were in the ride. While there are several thousand who stream past the spectators who line the parade route, each year his official answer is, "All of them."
All of them promising to never forget.