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11th Annual 9-11 Tribute Rally & Ride - Grandview, Missouri

Written by  October 1, 2012

For me, Tuesday, September 11, 2001 began as an ordinary day. Then I got a call from my friend B.C. who was the first to inform me of the attack at the World Trade Center. Others were also getting calls, and everyone was soon following the news on portable radios. After a while, we were all sent home. By the end of that day, both towers had fallen, the Pentagon had been hit, and United Flight 93 had gone down in Pennsylvania.

Terrorists were responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, but they failed to kill the American spirit and resolve to preserve freedom and the American way of life. We will never forget those who died and the heroism of those who gave up their lives in the effort to save others.



On Saturday, September 8, 2012, thousands of motorcyclists came to Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview, Missouri, to join in the annual tribute to those who were lost in the 9-11 attacks and to honor veterans, those currently in military service, and people who work in law enforcement and emergency services. In front of the dealership, the parking lot was full of vendor booths and displays of current and historic military vehicles. Also on display were several WW II era Cushman Model 53 scooters. Live music was performed by Silver Bullet, Dead or Alive, and Paradise City. Michelle Manhart, former U.S. Air Force drill sergeant and Playboy model, was on hand to meet the public and sign autographs. A new black denim Harley-Davidson Fat Bob was presented to the winner at the conclusion of the “Heads or Tails for a Harley” contest sponsored by Gail’s and 101 The Fox.





Members of the Lee’s Summit North Air Force Junior R.O.T.C. were impressive during two drill demonstrations during the afternoon. At 4:30 p.m. three jumpers from Skydive Kansas City arrived in spectacular fashion, parachuting into the grassy field north of Gail’s. Suspended beneath one of the skydivers was a beautiful, huge American flag. The annual flag retirement ceremony followed at 5 p.m. with the dealership’s old flag being respectfully lowered and replaced by a new one.





This year a major change was made in the ride from Gail’s to Fuel American Made Bar and Grill in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, Instead of one long parade, bikes departed Gail’s Harley-Davidson in three waves with ten-minute gaps between. The change was made in order to reduce the disruption of traffic along the route and to more efficiently get the multitude of motorcycles into the large parking area in front of Fuel. Police escort bikes and military vehicles were at the front of each group. The first wave of riders was made up of veterans and active military personnel. First responders and emergency services people rode in the second group. The lead riders in the third wave, immediately following the escort vehicles were Gail, Gale, and their guest Michelle Manhart. Michelle rode a Fat Boy provided by the dealership. She owns her own sport bike, but this was her first experience on a Harley. In the interest of safety, she received an orientation and went on a short pre-ride to become familiar with the motorcycle before the big group ride. The ride began at 6:00, and it was more than an hour before the last bike was parked at Fuel where there was more live music featuring KC/DC, food, beverages, and fellowship. Along the 13-mile route there were crowds of spectators who applauded the riders and waved American flags.



Thanks go to law enforcement officers from several metro area units for expertly escorting the ride and to members of the American Heartland H.O.G. Chapter who assisted with bike staging, parking, registration, and more. Most of all, thanks to the military, police, and emergency services personnel who stand ready day in and day out to risk all in the service of their country and the American public, always working to preserve our freedom, safety, and well-being. On that terrible day 11 years ago, American citizens united in the pledge that we would never forgot those tragic events. It is imperative that we keep that promise, and we must always be vigilant and ready to oppose every foe in order to preserve and protect our way of life for future generations of Americans.



Randall “Sea Hawk” Hauk shot video of the ride that can be viewed

Stripe

Photojournalist/Account Representative - Kansas City, MO

Dave Baxter, a.k.a. Stripe joined our staff in December, 2003, as a photojournalist. If that road name sounds familiar, you may have seen his photos on the pages of such publications as American Iron, V Twin, VQ, In the Wind, and Easyriders. Stripe attends as many rallies, bike shows, and charity runs as he can and is a major contributor of photos and articles to our magazine. His first assignment was our January, 2004, cover photo, where he snapped the awesome photo of a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide. A rider since the age of 14, he loves to help and encourage new riders. Stripe enjoys meeting new people and looks forward to catching many of our readers in the viewfinder of his digital camera. Contact Stripe at stripe@cycleconnections.com