Sunday, August 23, 2009

I wish you could've been with me

I thought this over and over these past two days while John and I rode with the 9th annual America's 9/11 Memorial Ride up to New York. This foundation provides scholarships to children of active first responders (EMS, Fire, Police).

We showed up at the Pentagon parking lot about 7:30 am, where we were joined by about 600 or so other bikes. Here's my attempt at an artful shot in the early morning light.

Then, as we traveled, we had police escort the whole way. I mean every exit or interchange from DC to New York City was blocked off. It was amazing having the whole road to ourselves.

Even more amazing were all the people who came out to watch, wave and even salute. On many overpasses emergency vehicles sat hooting and blinking their support.

The people stuck in our traffic seemed to be handling it well for the most part. We're probably on about 400 or more people's cell phone cameras.

We also got a little New Jersey treatment the whole way. At each planned refueling stop, a pit crew pumped gas for us. We stopped twice along the way for meals that were donated (by Famous Mike's Harley in Delaware and Applebee's in Linden, NJ). The ride was so incredibly organized and staffed with smiling volunteers. Our police escorts were also mostly volunteers. They were from city, county, and state police, sheriffs, and port authority crews, from about as many different states. This is one of my favorite shots going over the last bridge before New Jersey. You can see our police escort way in the lead.

When we came out of the Holland Tunnel into Manhattan, we were greeted by crowds on every corner.
Ok, so maybe most of them weren't there for us. In fact, many just pretended we weren't there.
But we made our presence known and got on a few more camera phones.

The thing that struck me the most (besides the bugs and rain) was the age of most of the children who were out with their parents. Most of them weren't alive on Sept 11, 2001. I wonder how parents tell their children about that tragic day, if at all. I mean, we're doing this ride to remember and honor the lives lost that day. What if it's not something you have to remember, but something you have to learn about? How does a child process that?

This morning we had special access to the construction site at the World Trade Center. I've been here a few times in the years since, and even though the work done here has been tremendous, it still feels like a giant hole in America's heart.

The tall building is Tower #7, which was the last to come down after being damaged that day and is the first to be rebuilt. It's 54 stories high. The crane in the frame on the left was putting steel in place for Freedom Tower, which is replacing the twin towers, which will be 3 times as high as #7.

We hope to do this ride every year. Come do it with us for the 10th anniversary!!


  1. That's amazing! I DO wish I could have been on that ride with you!

  2. i was wondering what all those FB status updates were about! i love that you did this.

    thinking of you today (which i'm sure you can tell since i'm comment-flooding your blog!)


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