KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In honor of the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, the Blue Knights Tennessee III held a remembrance ceremony and ride on Sunday.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Bootlegger Harley-Davidson on Lovell Road to hear some personal stories from those who risked their lives that day and to honor others who serve our community.
This was the 19th year the Blue Knights Tennessee III have held this ceremony and ride.
Members of the Blue Knights Tennessee III are made up of retired and active law enforcement. Some of whom were in New York on that day 20 years ago.
Before he moved to Tennessee, Darryl Clark use to call New York home and was a New York State Trooper,
“When the towers were struck, the governor sent the orders, the superintendent had us go down.”
He says the images of that day and the ones that followed are still etched in his mind,
“It was a war zone. The debris field was at least 10, 12 stories high.”
One of his jobs was at the morgue identifying those who died.
Now that he’s retired, Clark is the VP of the Blue Knights Tennessee III. Every year, he joins other active and retired first responders and law enforcement to honor those who answered the call.
“This is the 20th anniversary and we’re trying to do the best we can to honor those,” said President of Blue Knights Tennessee III, Jack Lakin. “I’ll tell you this, the reason why we do it is because some people lost their lives on 9/11, but some gave their lives”
He added, “343 firemen died that day.”
Darryl Clark said he went to every one of their funerals in the days that followed.
“We went to every funeral for every fireman, every port authority, police officer. We were part of the escort.”
Clark said he could never forget what happened 20 years ago, and he doesn’t want others to forget either.
There were about 300 riders at Sunday’s event. They began their ride at the Harley-Davidson on Lovell Road and ended their ride at the one on Chapman Highway.
The proceeds from the ride will benefit the Blount County Rescue Squad and Knoxville Public Safety Foundation.