CT United Ride to honor 9/11

The CT United Ride, is taking place two weeks earlier than usual this year.

Motorcyclists from all over Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and as far south as Maryland are preparing to ride Sunday, Aug. 30, in the 15th annual CT United Ride. Attendance is expected to reach 4,000 riders, with more than 10,000 people lining the 60-mile route waving American flags and cheering on the riders, making it the largest 9/11 tribute in Connecticut, and the largest single charity ride in New England.

“For those that lost their lives, for those that gave their lives, and for those that continue to put their lives on the line every day to protect us as a result of 9/11 — that’s why we ride,” said Fred Garrity Jr., executive director.

This is only the second time in 15 years that the CT United Ride has been held the weekend before Labor Day. Because Sept. 1 is a Tuesday, holding the ride on the usual weekend after Labor Day would miss the anniversary of the attacks.

The opening 9/11 tribute begins at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 30 at Norden Industrial Park, 10 Norden Place, Norwalk. The ceremony includes the Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, Connecticut State Firefighters Pipe and Drum Corps, a moment of silence during which the Norwalk Fire Department rings its bell 11 times beneath two fire ladder trucks holding a 50- foot American flag aloft.

Speakers invited to the opening ceremony include Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, US. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Fnch, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, and Peter Carozza, president of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association of Connecticut.

All the towns on the route and the state Department of Transportation have granted a permit for some 4,000 motorcycles, accompanied by up to 100 police escorts from a dozen Connecticut towns, to ride 60 miles in one continuous line through 10 Fairfield County cities and towns, with no lights and no stops. Close to 100 fire apparatus will line the route, including more than 24 ladder trucks creating arches to hang the American flag over the route for riders to travel under (at least one flag will be over the route in each town). Check with local fire departments to see where they will be staged.

Motorcyclists can register on Saturday, Aug. 29, at Captain’s Cove Seaport in Bridgeport from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or on the day of the event, Sunday, Aug. 30, from 8 to 10:45 a.m. at 10 Norden Place in Norwalk.

Information is available at ctunitedride.com or on Facebook at The CT United Ride.