Firefighters ride motorcycles to Ground Zero as tribute to those who died


by Johnny Archer

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 9 at 5:09 PM

(WHAS11)- A small group of both firefighters and patriots from Kentuckiana hit the road on their motorcycles.  They are on their way to New York to pay tribute to the men and women who died on 9/11, a historic moment in U.S. history.

A prayer is said before the bikers make their way to New York, for a journey to Ground Zero.

“This ride is about remembering,” said Captain Jeremy Leffler with the Lyndon Fire Department. 

Leffler remembers exactly where he was when the towers were hit and the emotion that set inside of him.

“There were a lot of emotions,” said Leffler. “Anger and sadness.”

The small group of bikers will be meeting with thousands of other bikers from around the country this weekend, most of them firefighters or veterans, but all are patriots.

Milton Hettinger is a 20 year veteran with the Louisville Fire Department. On his Harley Davidson, he has the names of all 343 firefighters who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11. A fraternal connection he will always have with them.

“We all ride together,” said Hettinger. “It’s a brotherhood.”

Lonnie Ater, from Henryville, IN is bringing his American flag with him to New York. It is flag that he flew in Iraq as he fought fires in the face of the enemy.

“It means all the rough things that we went through while we were over there,” said Ater. “It stayed on the truck regardless of what we did or where we went with the duties thrust upon us, this stayed on the truck.”

There are 3,000 to 6,000 bikers expected to come to New York this weekend.  For many in the group who left from Lyndon, this will be their first time at Ground Zero since the World Trade Center came down.

To see complete coverage and to share your memories of 9/11 visit our Remembering 9/11 page.