Thousands of motorcyclists ride 65 miles from Sevierville in hon

Thousands of motorcyclists ride 65 miles from Sevierville in honor of fallen soldiers

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"To see all these people come together in one place and then get to ride with them. It's just awesome." said Castle. "To see all these people come together in one place and then get to ride with them. It's just awesome." said Castle.
The riders are taking part to honor the sacrifice made by fallen soldiers. The riders are taking part to honor the sacrifice made by fallen soldiers.
More than 2500 motorcyclists took part this year. More than 2500 motorcyclists took part this year.
By Hayley Harmon
6 News Reporter/Anchor

SEVIERVILLE (WATE) - If you heard a rumbling sound making its way across East Tennessee Sunday, chances are it was the thousands of motorcycle riders who turned out for the 14th Annual Smoky Mountain Thunder Memorial Ride.

A record number of people turned out for this year's event, all to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in service to our country.

The day began with a fallen military remembrance ceremony at the Sevier County Courthouse.

"This is why we do this. It's for our men and women in the military," said rider Mike Castle.

The 65-mile ride took the riders across five counties.

More than 2500 motorcyclists took part this year.

That's the largest turnout the Memorial Day weekend even has ever seen in its 14 year history.

"To see all these people come together in one place and then get to ride with them. It's just awesome." said Castle.

All along the way, people lined the route, with American flags in hand, to watch the riders.

"I've never seen anything like I saw today, where people were coming to the roadside just to salute and wave," said Castle.

The trek ended in Grainger County at the Veteran's Overlook on Clinch Mountain.

"Just take a minute aside and remember our fallen," said Ron Giddis, coordinator of the Smoky Mountain Thunder Memorial Ride.

The purpose of the annual event is to focus on what Memorial Day is all about.

"Remembering that Memorial Day weekend is about fallen military," said Giddis.

The riders are taking part to honor the sacrifice made by fallen soldiers.

"If it wasn't for them we wouldn't have the freedom to be out here today," said rider Melissa Hodge, who has participated for the last four years.

Giddis says the record breaking turnout helps to show true appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice made by so many.

"That's what these people deserve. Our men and women in the military, whether they've served in wartime or not, they deserve every bit of respect we can give them," said Castle.

"I hope they just see the appreciation we have for them. Each and every one of them," said Hodge.

The ceremony also paid tribute to local firefighters and police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

For more information about the ride, visit the event website.

There is no charge to participate in the ride.
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