Patriotism expressed during annual Memorial Ride
MONTGOMERY – More than 3,000 motorcycles roared through the Muncy/Hughesville area on Saturday around 5 p.m. to honor those killed in the 9/11 attacks nine years ago. The procession lasted more than forty-five minutes as it traveled 37 miles leaving from Montgomery and circling through South Williamsport, Williamsport, Loyalsock Township, Montoursville, Hughesville, Muncy and ending in Montgomery. A memorial service began at 3 p.m. and a clamorous roar of activity could be heard as thousands of engines pulled out of the Clinton Township Fire Hall on Rt. 54 around 4 p.m.
A patriotic procession greeted spectators who lined up along several places along the planned route including Rt. 220 Highway. Flags were waving, cheers were sounding and horns were blaring that went on for an estimated 18 miles before the entire procession ended with Clinton County fire engines escorting behind flying with the American flag. Many local churches rang their bells in their honor and salutes could be heard from beginning to end. People lined the streets clapping, cheering, and holding signs of support. The streets and corners were manned by local police officers and fire departments.
This year he ninth annual 9/11 Memorial Ride also honored local heroes Marine Lance Cpl. Abe Howard, firefighter Richard Springman, and DEA Agent Chad Michael, all three of whom recently died in active duty.
Organizers said more than 3,800 people registered for the event.
Hank Holcomb, president of the Road Knights Motorcycle Club, said, “The ride shows support not only for people who died in 9/11, but all our troops out there putting their lives on the line every day, especially our firemen and police officers who are the unsung heroes.”
Before the riders took off, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Rickert from Iowa City spoke to them during the memorial service. He noted how firefighters and police officers don’t get as much recognition as soldiers when serving their country. He also said that the 9-11 disaster helped to unite our country.
The ride was planned and organized by the 9-11 Memorial Coalition Board. “The memorial ride was made possible only through the hard work and coordination of the coalition, local municipalities, police departments, fire companies and volunteers,” president “Tank” Baird said.
“This was a genuine community effort,” he added. “This has been our largest Memorial Ride so far and truly a community effort.”
In addition to the ride, the event included food vendors, live music and a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Registration opened at 8 a.m. There were almost a 1,000 registrations by 11 a.m.
Committee team organizers were Tom Baird, Mickey Finn, Hank Holcomb, Kathlee Bickley, Dean Creble, Dan Farr, Gary Smith, Father Manno and Dr. Powers. Father Manno handed out “Fallen Warrior” cards bearing the names of those who died in the war on terror to all of the riders to carry with them during the ride.