As someone said today, it is hard to put into words what it was like to witness the events surrounding the Project 911 Escort to Indianapolis from New York. (The video below captures the arrival of the beams).
So many moments were awe inspiring. The sheer numbers of motorcycles that poured into uptown Richmond Indiana starting early in the morning and grew minute by minute as morning turned to noon.
People came from all over including Bob Miles who lives in Myrtle Beach and was in Indianapolis visiting grandchildren. He said he was moved to participate because “it was for a good cause.” Bikes and jackets told of the many other places people traveled from including Madison TN, Marquette MI, and Danville IN.
One group from Shelby OH with the American Legion Riders agreed that it was an “awesome” experience. Jan expressed that “it was a great tribute to our Country.” And Mic, Lisa and Frank all agreed adding that they were overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed by emotion would describe how many people felt on this special day. Ginny Lee, from Portland IN, expressed that she and her friend Angie were “getting teary eyed just reading about it.” They were there as part of the group from AmVets.
Wayne and Jessica arrived the night before from Danville IN, and were shopping in the popular Army Navy Store as were many others. They shared that they were part of a group of 42 from their town who would arrive that day.
Bill Henry, who helped coordinate the events in Richmond, spent most of the day running from one end of the 3 block radius to the other, taking time to stop and chat with Mayor Sally Hutton and ask people how they were doing.
One member of the escort of thousands, Dawnna Brown, chose to commemorate the moment by getting a tattoo which read “Project 911” with a flag in red, white and blue.
Finally, at around noon the escort from New York followed the beams on a flatbed truck covered by an American Flag to the front of the Richmond City Building, along with emergency vehicles from Ohio and Indiana. Parked under a flag hung from the ladder of a fire truck, many people were able to touch the beams which were a reminder of the devastation of 911.
After a few words, Mayor Sally Hutton was introduced as “a friend to all Vets and bikers.” Sally welcomed everyone and thanked them for their efforts as well as for coming out in the rain to show support. She relayed that what had at first been projected to be a group of 500 had grown to thousands of bikers which was amazing.
Greg Hess, a first responder from Indianapolis and the creator of the event, spoke with emotion about the overwhelming support from so many people including all the Veterans associations and biker groups for the past six months. Bill Henry added his thanks as well for the support of Mayor Sally Hutton and the City of Richmond which he added “whatever we asked they let us do.”
Final words were said followed by the passing of the flag to the Mayor as well as a 21 gun salute by the color guard and taps for all those who lost their lives.
People who witnessed this moving experience will talk about it for years to come. Watch the video below to see the beams and escort leave on 27 toward 70. The procession lasted over an hour as bikers in good spirits despite the rain began the final leg of their journey to Indianapolis.
If you have photos to share please send them to us at GoWayneCounty.com. We will also post more pictures on our Facebook site.
Karole Passmore is a freelance writer who enjoys writing articles and short stories, interviewing local people, and researching non-fiction subject matter– preferably historical. Graduate of RHS, Ivy Tech Richmond, and Earlham College– with a major in History, Karole has spent most of her life in Wayne County and enjoys the quaint atmosphere of a small town.
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