On Sept. 11, 2001, it was the heroics of the American people and the emergency responders of New York that shone through the tragedy and gave hope to the rest of the country and the world.
It is because of those heroics that now, 10 years later, Jack Trethewey and hundreds, if not thousands, of his fellow members of the International Association of Fire Fighters, and more specifically their motorcycle club, are heading to New York City to be there for the commemorative ceremonies coming up this weekend.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of the anniversary memorial, ” Havre Fire Department Capt. Trethewey said this weekend, before taking off on his Harley Davidson to meet up with 19 other biking firefighters from Montana in Billings on Sunday. Between there and Sturgis, S.D., participants from across the region were meeting up on the way to New York.
Today he and the other riders should be somewhere between Sioux City, Iowa, and Ottawa, Ill. From there they will continue through Youngstown, Ohio, and Bloomsberg, Pa., arriving in New York on Friday.
Newburgh, N.Y., is the rallying point for the rides attendees, for two days, before they head into Manhattan on Sunday.
Trethewey said he didn’t know how many fellow biker/firefighters would make it to the event, though the last one they had, in Colorado Springs, Colo., two years ago, drew more than 1,000, including some from Alaska.
“I don’t know if they rode down or how they got there, but I saw some Alaska plates, ” Trethewey said.
It was there that they set up the plan for the next ride, to meet in New York for the 9/11 rememberances, a day that served as a reminder not only of America’s place in the world, but of a firefighter’s place in America.
“Three-hundred-and-forty-three of our brothers died that day, ” Trethewey said. “It drives home the danger of the profession. ”