9/11 Ten Years Later: Ride to Remember

September 7, 2011 4:27:05 AM PDT
One hundred and ninety motorcycles took off from U.S. Cellular Field Tuesday morning. Their final destination is Ground Zero, New York City. The riders are mostly Chicago firefighters, but not all.

"My son joined the military. He's in the Marines. He's in Afghanistan right now and I'm doing it for him," said Roland Villalobos, rider.

"It's a time that you wouldn't want to experience and yet it's here and I think every American should experience going there," said Bill Naughton, Vietnam veteran.

On their way to New York, the riders will make stops in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where flight 93 went down, and at the Pentagon. Thousands more are expected to join along the way. The ride, which is its tenth year, started as a result of one man.

"I knew nothing about New York City," said Lt. Tom Maloney, Chicago Fire Department.

Before 9/11, Maloney had never set foot in New York. But when the Twin Towers came down he knew right away that is where he had to be.

"I said, 'I'm going. We got to to. It's imperative. They need help,'" he said.

Maloney, along with many other Chicago firefighters, spent 11 days digging through the rubble at Ground Zero.

"You just think, there is somebody in there. There is an air pocket. There is somebody. Somebody that is screaming out and we just can't hear them. We're going to find them," said Maloney.

But it was not meant to be. Not a single person was rescued out of the ashes of the World Trade Center.

When Maloney came back home he knew that this would be a part of his life forever. And so the Chicago to New York motorcycle ride was born.

"It's something that you just don't let go of. You don't move on. I tell people, 'it's been 10 years now and you might carry on, but you never forget,'" said Maloney.

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