Iron and Steel – 8/23/08 – NY to Shanksville

This weekend a ride that will live in legend took place. The New York based Fire Family Transport Foundation held a motorcycle ride to escort a cross of 911 steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center to the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department who responded to the crash of Flight 93 on that day of infamy. Hundreds of motorcycles gathered at the old Floyd Bennet Airfield in Brooklyn and formed up for the morning launch of their escort duty. At 7am they rode out onto the Belt Parkway and started their long pilgrimage to another place where heroes died that day.

My brother, a member of the Fire Riders, and his friend made that trek and remarked that he never saw anything like the turnout along the way. Every bridge over the Belt Parkway had fire rigs and spectators crowding to catch a glimpse of the cross and to watch the long rumbling stream of bikes as they passed beneath.

When they reached the long sweeping shore of Gravesend Bay leading to the Verrazano Bridge the venerable FDNY Fireboat Firefighter stood to about 1,000 feet offshore with all its water cannons blasting streams of red, white and blue water high into the air.

Then they were across the bridge and into Staten Island where again the overpasses were packed with people and fire trucks draped in flags.

The crowds only increased in size when they reached New Jersey. Every overpass was crowded with firemen, their apparatus and spectators. Huge flags hung suspended between aerial ladders. People cheered as the bikes roared beneath. This went on for miles and miles across New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. Over a thousand motorcycles roaring past at highway speeds had to have been an impressive sight.

In Pennsylvania his friends bike started experiencing some trouble so at the next rest area, conveniently located at a Harley Davidson dealership, they had to make repairs which left them behind the main escort but still with a group of six or seven riders to continue the mission. They stayed at the motel overnight and attended the unveiling ceremony Sunday morning before taking a ride to the ‘official’ Flight 93 Memorial site being built a few miles away.

Later they started the long ride home with ten to twelve others from Long Island and arrived between 11pm and Midnight Sunday night.

Everyone who participated in or observed this mission commented on how well executed it was. Rest areas were conveniently and strategically located. Each was stocked with free food and refreshments for the riders. Repair facilities were near at hand. Everything had been thought out in advance.

For more coverage and photos visit:
911 Families for a Safe & Strong America
Fire Family Transport Foundation
Daily News Slideshow
Brett’s Fire Photos
Associated Press Video
The Critical Hour Blog
KZ3KCC’s Scanner Blog
NECN News Coverage
NY1 Coverage
Flopping Aces
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
The Tribune Democrat – Johnstown PA

Videos of the run on the Web:

World Trade Center Plane Crash Memorial Run, Iron & Steel Run: New York City to Shanksville,PA
Iron and Steel Bike Run N.Y.C to Shanksville,PA
A short video from the last part of the ride to Shanksville

Update 4/24/09:

A photo slideshow is here.

More videos here, here and here.

Another great slideshow with soundtrack by Lloyd Marcus

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