Motorcyclists pay respect to fallen military, first responders during Smoky Mountain Thunder ride

Local News

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Hundreds of motorcycle riders joined together Sunday to honor fallen military service members for the Smoky Mountain Thunder Memorial Ride.

Now in its 21st year, the ride takes place during Memorial Day weekend. Riders gather at Sevier County Courthouse and travel to Veteran’s Overlook on Clinch Mountain in Grainger County.

“From the beginning to present day Memorial Day has evolved, but the reason for the holiday is still the same,” Ron Giddis, founder of the ride, said. “Do to remember and pay tribute to the men and women who died in combat.”

Since 9/11, the memorial ride has added first responders to the list of people they pay tribute to during the ride.

“Since 9/11, 2001, and the attack on our country, we feel the need to also include law enforcement, firemen EMTs. For it was they who responded first,” Giddis said.

The event began with breakfast and an opening ceremony at the courthouse before taking to the 65-mile ride.

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