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Bikers riding to remember 9/11 victims

Motorcyclists expected to stop in or pass through Hagerstown today en route to Washington, D.C.

September 10, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com

An undetermined number of motorcyclists was expected to stop in or pass through Hagerstown early Wednesday en route to Washington, D.C., as part of a ride to remember those killed in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Maryland State Police Lt. Mike Fluharty said that groups of riders were expected to  travel down Interstate 70 between 6 and 8 a.m. on their way to the District of Columbia, where they would join riders from across the nation as part of the “2 Million Bikers to D.C.” ride.

“They’re not coming in one group,” Fluharty said. “There could be groups of 10 or 15 at a time or motorcycle clubs or individual motorcyclists.”

A group of 2,000 bikers coming from Cumberland, Md., was scheduled to stop for fuel in Hagerstown at 6:30 a.m. The group was expected to get off at Exit 29 on I-70 to Sharpsburg Pike and meet with various members of the Pride Motorcycle Club, which is composed of current and retired correctional employees, with 26 chapters across Pennsylvania, Maryland, Wisconsin and Kentucky, said Frank Kronawetter, president of the Hagerstown chapter.

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Kronawetter said that members of the club’s chapters were to meet at Valley Mall  and ride over to the AC&T Station on Sharpsburg Pike, where they would meet with the group from Cumberland. They would leave from there for Washington.

“The ride is to remember the people lost in 9/11 and our servicemen who are fighting for our freedom,” Kronawetter said.

Fluharty said nothing out of the ordinary was scheduled to be done for the riders as they travel through Washington County.

“We’re going to treat them just like we would any vehicles on the road that day,” he said.

The ride was announced in August after a scheduled demonstration on Sept. 11 originally called the “Million Muslim March” and later renamed the “Million American March Against Fear” in February received national attention, according to published reports.

That march, which is scheduled to begin at noon Wednesday on the National Mall, is calling for “all individuals and organizations working for peace to attend this collective action to tell our government leaders we want transparency and policies of peace,” according to its website at http://mamaf.webs.com/.

The riders were scheduled to ride through the District at 11 a.m. The city denied them  a permit for a nonstop ride, which would have allowed the riders not to stop for red lights, stop signs and other traffic signals.

“I think it’s a shame that they didn’t issue a permit, but we have the freedom to ride whether they issue a permit or not,” Kronawetter said.

As they near Washington, the bikers are scheduled to meet at the Harley Davidson of Washington in Fort Washington, Md., before the ride through the city, Kronawetter said. The route has been kept secret to avoid any trouble.

Kronawetter said it is important for people to understand that the Sept. 11 attacks will never be forgotten.

“It was an attack on our country, and 9/11 should be a national holiday,” he said. “We ride for the freedom to be an American.”

Some riders who cannot make the trip said they would show their support in other ways, including Pride MC member Mike Diseati of Hagerstown.

Diseati, 70, said he would put his motorcycle in his front yard and put an American flag on it.

“I want to show support for the ride,” he said.

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