Thousands of bikers roared through the Washington, D.C., area Wednesday to mark the anniversary of 9/11.
The bikers — riding with the group “Two Million Bikers to D.C.” — snarled traffic on the Beltway with a ride honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the members of the military called to serve after the attacks.
The ride began at Harley Davidson of Washington in Fort Washington, Md., at 11 a.m., where the sheer number of bikes was too great to stop.Other drivers were forced to wait and watch. Many didn’t mind. Instead, they snapped photos and waved.“I could stay here for half an hour; I don’t care; this is America,” said Santana Sensenna while stuck in the traffic.The bikes rolled in a steady stream for 50 straight minutes before heading to the Beltway. The ride wasn’t smooth for everyone. At one point a motorcycle went down on the Outer Loop in the Bethesda area, causing traffic to back up for miles.
At the National Mall, another motorcyclist ran his bike into the back of a pedicab.”I think the heat got to me and I kind of blacked out a little bit,” said the rider, Bill Eisenheart. “You know, I didn’t see him.”But the overarching theme of this day was remembering what happened Sept. 11, 2001.”9/11 happened then, but it’s still happening,” said rider Ken Mortello.Mortello, a Desert Storm veteran and full-time firefighter, came down from New Jersey to be a part of the ride. He remembers vividly what the day was like for one of his friends in New York City who rushed into the World Trade Center to help.”He had a woman with third-degree burns. As he came through a tunnel, one tower collapsed. The tunnel that he was in collapsed — missed him by about two feet. Buried everybody else that was with him,” Mortello said.He says some friends have still not gotten over that day, and that’s why he was riding Wednesday.