MONTGOMERY, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Thousands of people in Lycoming County are memorializing 9/11 in a special way. An annual motorcycle ride will soon be taking over the streets across the area.
A memorial service was held at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company Wednesday evening and following the service, the 9/11 memorial ride started out across northcentral Pennsylvania. Practically every first responder and law enforcement in Lycoming County is involved.
“It’s important we think to remember the sacrifices made that day. You’ve seen it on social media. People woke up that morning thinking it was a Tuesday,” Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company Chief Todd Winder said.
“I took notice to how beautifully blue the sky was that day with not a plane in the sky,” Richard Boyles of the Red Knights Chapter PA 32 said.
Wednesday, the 18th annual memorial ride is taking to the streets, starting off at Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company. The 42-mile ride winds through Lycoming County, reminding the public of the heroism and dedication of those who sacrificed their lives for us.
“We are out here today because we kind of realized that we’re firefighters. They were firefighters that lost their lives. A lot of people don’t understand why they went into a building that was coming down, why they were risking their lives. We do,” David Lechniak of The Red Knights said.
The Red Knights is an organization of firefighters who also ride motorcycles and help raise money for local organizations. Lechniak has been coming to the ride for at least eight years, showing his support for his brethren who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
“They gave their life up, you know. They gave their life up for ordinary people, you know, your mom, my mom, brothers and sisters that have nothing to do with firefighting,” Lechniak said.
The event is put on by the 9/11 Memorial Coalition. The first ride was four days after the attacks.
“They were tired of watching the towers fall on the cameras or on TV and they’re bikers so what do bikers do? They go for a ride. It was kind of a fist in the air, you know, USA sort of thing,” Winder said.
“I think it’s important to keep something like this alive for future generations that weren’t actual witnesses to it,” Boyles said.
With nearly 10,000 people in attendance, it’s a way to make sure 9/11 is never forgotten.
“It’s amazing the patriotism, the support we get from people,” Winder said.
The ride is free to all who wish to participate but donations are being accepted. All funds raised will benefit local volunteer first responders who are injured or killed in the line of duty.
The memorial ride goes through 19 local municipalities.