Annual ride rumbles through DowagiacPublished 7:41pm Sunday, September 9, 2012
More than 350 motorcycles rumbled down Division Street in Dowagiac Sunday for the 12th annual 9/11 Ride to Remember, organized by the Berrien County Riders.
The Dowagiac Eagles began preparing for the riders in the early morning hours before they would park on a closed portion of East Railroad Street for a break. The riders were treated to free food, prepared by Eagles volunteers, and patriotic music provided by Billy Brock. Many Eagles members and community residents joined the block party-style event to welcome the riders and commemorate the Sept. 11. 2001, terrorist attacks.
“It’s a very tragic thing that happened to our country in 2001,” Todd Kimball, the president of Berrien County Riders, said. “We want everyone to remember what happened.”
The ride, which invites any and all riders to join, travels through Berrien and Cass counties. The Berrien County Police Department serves as escort through each stop and proceeds from rider registration goes to the American Red Cross.
“It makes you feel so patriotic,” Anna Williams, an officer of the Eagles, said. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”
For Bill Grant, a member and Dowagiac resident, this was his third year as a spectator.
“The best part is why they do it, the purpose of it. I enjoy it,” said Grant, describing the best part as the entry of the motorcycles. “Watching them all come in, just hundreds of them,” Grant said. “Everyone likes to see that.”
Williams, who was decked out in a patriotic Dowagiac T-shirt, said the bikers who participate do it for the right reasons.
“They’re so inspiring,” Williams said. “These are some of the same guys who escort soldiers during funerals and some are veterans … it means something to a lot of people.”