The 9/11 ride, which is organized by the America’s 911 Foundation, is held in honor of those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001. This charity ride is held in August rather than on the actual date of the deadly hijackings so as not to interfere with activities that may be occurring at the sites of the 9/11 attacks. It is also done prior to the anniversary date out of respect for those who go to the memorials on September 11th to grieve for their lost loved ones.
The America’s 911 Foundation’s first ride was held eight weeks after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which took the lives of nearly 3,000 people. On November 10 and 11th, 2001, a group of motorcyclists from the Washington DC area -- where this organization is currently based -- rode from the White House to the site where the World Trade Center once stood. The following year, in August of 2002, the Foundation rode to all three of the 9/11 crash sites – Washington, DC, New York, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Ever since that day, this three-day ride has been held in August.
This moving memorial, which is the largest police-escorted ride in the nation, begins in Somerset, Pennsylvania, where groups from all over the nation gather to begin the route. From here, the 911 Foundation Ride heads to Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This is the location where a plane crashed after passengers fought to wrest control of it from hijackers. The first phase of the Flight 93 Memorial was dedicated on September 11th, 2011, on the tenth-year anniversary of the tragic crash.
From Pennsylvania, motorcyclists head over to Washington, DC, to the site of the attack on the Pentagon, and then finally on to New York to the location where the Twin Towers once stood. There are beautiful memorials at both these sites.
Interestingly enough, in 2011 when one community -- Leesburg, Virginia, which is near Washington, DC – had asked bikers to bypass their city due to traffic concerns, the public actually sided with the motorcyclists.
Officials relented and the bikers were allowed to once again proceed through town, where they were greeted by streets lined with enthusiastic, and flag-waving spectators. The riders were also asked if they could go around the town of Cumberland, Maryland, as well, but officials also relented there
In 2011, the tenth-year anniversary of the attacks, 1,800 motorcycles participated in the 911 ride, which raises money for college scholarships for the children of First Responders, as well as for other charitable donations, such as providing necessary equipment to police and fire departments. Registration for this charity ride costs $150 and there are sometimes limits as to how many bikes are allowed to participate.
The America’s 911 Foundation’s website does have a list of hotels that motorcyclists can book rooms at in the three areas that the ride visits. The organization recommends that riders reserve their rooms early. For more information on the ride and hotels, please see: http://www.americas911ride.org/