The Public Safety Honor Guard presented the colors at Saturday morning’s 9/11 Ride to Remember ceremony at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center’s Fallen Heroes Memorial. (Staff Photo: Meghan Kotowski)
LAWRENCEVILLE — Under a partly cloudy sky and cool breeze, a group of residents along with Gwinnett County fire and police personnel gathered at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center’s Fallen Heroes Memorial.
It may have been a few days early, but the crowd had come together to remember the first responding men and women who lost their lives during the Sept. 11 attacks 12 years ago.
Organized by the Red Knights Georgia Chapter 1, which is a citizen firefighters motorcycle club, there was a small ceremony to remember all those affected, including the wounded on what is now known as Patriot’s Day.
“It’s important that we remember and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Red Knight Secretary Brent Hoovestol. “It’s motivation for us to rise to our duty — as did the citizens on that Flight 93 and remembering keeps us safe from any surprise again. That helps to protect our freedoms because we don’t want to be terrorized.’
For the 30 minute ceremony, the colors were honored, Boy Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance and bagpipes were played. Lawrenceville’s Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson, Division Director and Assistant Chief Jere Jordan, who spoke on behalf of Fire Chief Casey Snyder, and Deputy Chief and Fire Operations Wayne Mooney all took the podium to talk about remembrance.
After the event, Johnson expressed how she was moved by the Red Knights and their dedication to remembering 9/11.
“I think it’s a wonderful tribute to our community that we have a group that wants to continue to remember what happened on Sept. 11 — and the other activities that unfortunately have comrades to hurt or fallen during their line of service,” she said. “I’m grateful for their continued participation each year.”
Lawrenceville was the group’s first stop. Beside the ceremony, there were several motorcyclist joining Hoovestol for the 9/11 Ride to Remember. They were traveling to Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Ga. for a larger ceremony.
When Hoovestol and his crew left memorial, they were led by a fire truck and police officers throughout Gwinnett. The Red Knights were just one organization to participate in the annual event. Groups in Dublin, Warner Robins and Griffin also held their own ceremonies before traveling to Forsyth.
The ride was started to “honor all Public Safety Servants who gave the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11/01 as well as those who have fallen protecting the citizens of Georgia.” A portion of the proceeds is given to the Georgia Public Safety Memorial Fund.
“By carrying on and not letting the terrorists paralyze us, make us cower in fear, it keeps them from being effective as terrorists,” Hoovestol said.