9/11 Rolling memorial recalls lives lost in attacks
It was a sea of motorcycles as far as you could see as the riders in the 9/11 Memorial Motorcycle Ride gathered at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Co. in Montgomery for a service before heading out on their route through the county.
Young and not-so-young riders participated in the 17th annual ride to remember the tragedy of the 2001 terrorist attacks and the lives lost that day and in the days after, during the War on Terror.
Flags lined the streets of boroughs along the route and hours prior to the ride people began claiming their spots for viewing the thousands of motorcyclists for the ride, which was organized by the 9/11 Memorial Coalition.
Deb Kreamer, of Williamsport, has participated in the ride for 15 years. For her, the important thing is to remember what happened that day.
“Don’t you remember it. That’s what brings me back. It’s everybody that’s gone. We’re here for them,” she said.
Standing with two other riders, Kreamer said they were sharing their memories of the day terrorists commandeered four planes to attack targets in this country.
“We were just talking about what we were all doing on that day,” she said. “I was getting ready to go to work and I couldn’t believe it. Then we all got at work and we were all dumbfounded and then we closed for the rest of the day. We went home and then showed up the next day as dumbfounded as we were the first day.”
“Seventeen years later I still get chills,” she added.
Riders came from all parts of the state and nearby states to participate in the ride.
Joe Sullivan rode in from Horseheads, New York, as part of a group of Legion Riders.
“The family of the victims will never forget and I’m sure never going to forget. I don’t think there’s a Legion Rider out there who will ever forget,” he said when asked why he felt rides such as this one were so important.
Most people who were there to ride had come back year after year to join the group. Over and over again they told of how they wanted to do it to honor the victims of the 9/11 attack and the soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although she was not even born when the attacks happened, 10-year-old Abigail Pauling was riding for the second year with her grandfather, Wayne Pauling, of Montgomery.
Speaker for the memorial service was Sara Christensen, a chief warrant officer and medevac pilot with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
“All of us come together to make this ground sacred and hallow, at least for the evening, as we honor our heroes and remember the evil so that we can magnify the good,” she said.
“What were you doing on that day,” she asked the crowd after sharing her memories of that day in September that changed life in this country forever.
“I’m sure every one of you could tell your story in vivid detail unless you were too young to remember. For a period of time after the attacks we momentarily forgot about our internal divisions and issues and came together as Americans. It was the worst day we had ever experienced, but it brought out the best in us,” she added.
For Caitlin Sheck, who was in second grade when the attacks occurred, watching the ride each year has become a tradition. Sitting along the curb in Montoursville with her children and her grandmother, Judy Evans, she shared how she feels as the riders pass.
“How amazing it is for a lot of people to come together for something like that,” she said.