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13th Annual 9-11 Tribute Ride and Rally – Grandview, Missouri

Written by  September 27, 2014

On Saturday, September 13, thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts gathered at Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview, Missouri, to pay tribute to those who perished on September 11, 2001, as a result of terrorist attacks and to honor military veterans and active military, police, and emergency services personnel.  The rally began at 9:00 a.m. and featured vendors, children’s activities, and displays of current and vintage military and emergency services vehicles. Dora the Explorer, a Remotec robot belonging to the 509th Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit from Whiteman Air Force Base, was in need some cleaning up, and bikini bike wash girls Elly Jean and Bethanie had her sparkling in no time.

Commemorative T-shirts and pins were sold to benefit Folds of Honor. The Jeremy Nichols Band and Southern Vixen provided musical entertainment at the dealership during the morning and afternoon, respectively. The Pipes & Drums of Ararat Shrine also made an appearance, marching to the music of bagpipes and the beat of drums. Lots of great rides were entered in the ride-in bike show.

Jumpers from Skydive KC made their appearance in the sky above Gail’s Harley-Davidson at 4:30 providing the audience with a spectacular view of a 600 square-foot American flag suspended beneath skydiver John Hall. Normally during the 9-11 Tribute Rally, there is a formal flag retirement ceremony. This year a police honor guard was to have participated. Sadly, their duty that day was in Topeka at the funeral of Cpl. Jason Harwood who was slain in the line of duty. Also attending the funeral were many of the officers who would have been part of the team escorting the ride. Gail and her staff made numerous frantic calls and were able to put together, on short notice, a team much smaller than usual to perform escort duty. Fortunately a group of officers was able to rush back from Topeka in time to bolster the escort force.  

Thousands of riders joined the ride departing from Gail’s at 4:00 p.m. and proceeding along Interstate 49/US 71 to Harrisonville. In the lead were escort bikes, a retired fire truck from Thiells, New York, a military M1117 Armored Security Vehicle, and vintage military trucks. Spectators gathered on overpasses along the route, cheering and waving American flags. The huge parking lot near the Family Center Farm & Home had plenty of room for the motorcycles and huge tents where the riders enjoyed food and beverages. The crowd was welcomed by Gail and by KCTV-5 meteorologist Gary Amble. T. J. McEntire from Q-104 introduced contemporary country artist Joe Bachman who presented a free concert including some very inspirational music dedicated to those America’s military service.

It was a beautiful day and a great ride. It’s important to remember the tragedy of 9-11 and pay tribute to the victims. These days, there are constant reminders that America’s enemies are still active. The good news is that those evil forces will fail, and The United States of America will prevail thanks to the courage and dedication of our heroes in uniform and the strength of the American spirit in all of us.

Thanks go out to Gail and her staff, the American Heartland Chapter of H.O.G., the police and MODOT escort team, sponsors, vendors, entertainers, and all who participated in the ride. Special thanks to our military, police, and first responders who stand ready every day to serve and protect all of us.

 

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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