KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – This week marks 18 years since the 9/11 attacks. On Sunday, to honor the lives lost and help present-day first responders and their families, hundreds of people in Knoxville came together at the Lovell Road Harley Davidson.
They participated in a memorial ride to pay tribute to the heroes of September 11, 2001.
“Today we’re honoring all the fellows that were killed at 9/11, the day of 9/11, but we’re also thinking about the people that are dying now,” said coordinator Tom Bruno.
First responders and community members first gathered for a ceremony, which included a presentation of the colors, prayer and speeches.
Those participating say it’s an honor to be a part of.
“I used to go to New York a lot, and we stayed at the World Trade Center at the Marriott, and I would see the faces of those EMS people, the police, the firefighters doing the drills. When that happened, when the buildings were coming down, I could see those faces of those people. I didn’t know them personally but I knew they were there. It’s always been a really near and dear thing to me, and I’m proud to be able to play for this,” said bagpipe player Kelly Shipe.
After the ceremony, motorcycle riders wound for about 30 miles through the county. They carried a picture of a police officer or firefighter killed in the 9/11 attacks.
The money raised at the event goes to a few groups. One is Blount County Rescue. Another is ‘Copsrun’, which helps families affected by line-of-duty deaths. A third is a foundation that supports injured officers and firefighters.