Sept. 12, 2013
TO THE EDITOR:
Washington, D.C., Sept. 11, 2013. What a day!
We met up with some riders from the Salisbury, N.C., area and a handful of others in Fredericksburg, Va., to head to Harley Davidson of Washington, D.C., in Fort Washington, Md.
Running on three hours sleep and anticipation. Arrived at the dealership at the scheduled 8 a.m. registration time. It was already hot. The sky was clear, just as it was on 9/11/2001. Anybody who wanted one was given a sticker with the name of a person who had perished on 9/11 to take with them on the ride. Stephen Huczko Jr. was ours.
Motorcycles of every description, size, make, color and custom combination. Men, women, children, black, white, young, old, tattoos, neon pink hair, clean cut guys, rough looking guys, demurely dressed women, some “trashy women.”
A sea of black leather vests. Patches depicting various political, social and religious opinions. A red bike with a charred NYFD captain’s helmet strapped on the back. (I admit I was misty eyed with that one).
Teal and black Harleys with matching sidecar ridden by two women. Lots of flags, American flags, POW flags, Don’t Tread on Me flags, PGR flags, Texas flags.
One guy from Australia, several Canadians. People from Texas, California, Arizona, Indiana (thanks to the Indiana rider who offered me a ride on his bike, which I had to decline), Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, New York.
I saw T-shirts, vests and patches from nearly every state, including Alaska. A young man handed out small American flags that he had personally driven to every crash site in one day.
Patriot Guard Riders, American Legion Riders, Hell’s Angels, Christian Motorcycle Association, The Brotherhood, Blue Knights, Purple Heart Riders, Rolling Thunder. These are just some of the groups and clubs represented.
A feeling of excitement, pride in America, people happy to be there, a totally positive feel to the day. Blue and white Washington, D. C., police helicopter overhead. A moment of silence at precisely the times of each attack. Heads bowed.
Then, promptly at 11 a.m., as planned, kick stands were up. No way to describe the sound and feel of, literally, acres of motorcycles. The bikes pulled out, staggered two abreast, non-stop, no breaks, for a solid 50 minutes (and that was just at this one staging location; there were more than one location).
Lots of D.C. cops at the site, all helpful and supportive. The street was lined with men, women and children, waving flags, cheering, waving the bikers on.
In D.C., people along the streets were waving, shouting their support, generally showing pride in America. The brainchild of one woman, and with only about three weeks of preparation time, this was an event of epic proportions. Planners intend to make this an annual event. God willing, I will be there next year. (Thanks to my grandson, David Allen Jones, for making this trip possible for me).
Most impressive: that people love, and believe in America so strongly, that they will, on very short notice, interrupt their lives and invest their time, money and energy to take a stand and make a statement. That, my friends, is what makes this the greatest nation on the planet, and no group of politicians can “fundamentally” change that. God bless America!