Last Saturday, bikers from all over the Wasatch Front remembered the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 tragedy by getting together for a ride to raise money for charity. The “Fire Ride” took the crew from South Valley Harley Davidson at 8868 South 450 West in Sandy up to Sandy’s Healing Field for the unveiling of a new September 11 memorial monument. The ride continued north, with a motorcycle police escort, to Ogden for the unveiling of another monument.
“This is an amazing show of patriotism, people taking time out of their lives for local charities that were born out of the World Trade Center attacks,” said Bryan Brown, marketing director for Intermountain Harley Davidson and event organizer.
Bikers were taking the charity ride for many different reasons. As one biker said, “Where else would I be today?”
Dirk Barkbull was taking the ride for personal reasons. “My dad was a firefighter for 30 years. I’m here to support the firefighters. He (my dad) put his life on the line for other people,” he said.
“I’m here to honor the folks who served on 9/11,” Rod Turner said. “I was in the National Guard, Air Force and have served overseas a couple of times.”
The first stop on the ride was the Healing Field, where there were 3,000 American flags on display. Attached to each flag was a card with the name of a person who died that day, along with their name, age and a paragraph about them.
The bikers, along with many other people, were witness to the ceremony before the unveiling of the new monument. Members of the community such as Senator Mike Lee, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Congressman Jim Matheson, ex-Utah Jazz head coach Frank Layden and ex-Utah Jazz player Thurl Bailey offered remarks.
Master of Ceremonies Rod Arquette thanked everyone for being there to honor the fallen.
“Innocent Americans going about their day ended up losing their lives to terrorists,” Arquette said. “We are also here to honor our military.”
The highlight of the ceremony was when Bailey sang “God Bless America” with the audience joining him.
The unveiling showed a monument depicting the three firefighters who attached an American flag to a pole and raised it on the rubble that was once the World Trade Center.
“I’m here to honor the people who have died on 9/11,” said biker Richard Conte.
Following the ceremony, the bikers were treated to a free lunch, after which they rode to Ogden. In Ogden, there was another monument unveiling; two firefighters holding a firefighter’s helmet.
Mike Leathem, a volunteer firefighter since 1981 with Uintah Fire, organized the event in Ogden. “The monument represents all the firefighters in America who have lost their lives in the line of duty. We are in the process of building a wall similar to the Vietnam memorial wall in Washington for firefighters that have died in America. We will ring a bell and read the names of the firefighters who have died in the line of duty in the past year,” he said.