The ride helps us remember what we must never forget

With the roar of the motorcycles, we remember.

As the flags blow stiff in the wind behind the cycles, we remember.

And onlookers to the 17th 9/11 Memorial Coalition ride waved their flags back.

As the sun set gently on Monday, the ride forced us all to remember what we should never forget.

Reliving the attacks on our nation in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington is painful for any proud American.

The lump in the throat and the ache in our hearts is now as much a part of this time of year as the anticipation of changing leaves and autumn frost.

And that is as it should be.

We should never forget.

Remembering and understanding history is what should shape Americans now and, we fervently hope, Americans of all future generations.

We Americans, whose lives are built on a foundation of freedom of speech, argue, fuss and fight a lot. It comes with the territory of a true democracy.

But there is little debate about the impact of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

They changed our country forever, bringing into sharp focus the reality that there is an enemy that seeks to destroy our way of life.

And today they still remain, enemies to a free society that people have died to establish and protect.

The ride each year helps us recapture the depth of feeling for this blessed country that all of us must never lose. It reminds us of those who have sacrificed to give us rights and freedoms that are the envy of the world.

We must never forget the tears of Sept. 11, 2001 and the triumph that has followed, a response to challenges that can only succeed with a unity of American purpose.

We salute the organizers of the 9/11 ride and all the motorcyclists who help us remember who we are.