Shoreline is nearly 3,000 miles from New York City, but two Shoreline firefighters, Bryan Gibb and Todd Johnston are riding motorcycles cross country to New York to commemorate the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that killed 343 of their brethren.
The group from the Seattle area left Sept. 2, from the Tacoma Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Gibb and Johnston ride Road King firefighter edition bikes that are specifically designed and made for firefighters.
The riders will need a week to cross the country. Along the way, they will become part of an estimated caravan of 5,000 motorcycle-riding firefighters from across the U.S. and Canada. They’ll sleep, eat and ride together, the firefighter way.
The ride is sponsored by the International Association of Firefighters-Motorcycle Group 7th District as part of the 9/11 – Always Remember & Never Forget Tribute Rally being hosted by the IAFF Motorcycle Group and Orange County Choppers.
Shoreline firefighters, Gibb, a captain in the department, Andy Sawyer and Lieutenant Mark Foster, brought Shoreline Ladder 61 to Seattle Center to memorialize the people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. a few days after the attacks. The three firefighters went to New York to attend a memorial service for firefighters killed in the line of duty on Sept. 11 at Madison Square Garden in 2002.
"It gives you a different perspective," Sawyer said. "It was amazing for me to go back and talk to the guys that were so totally involved. It didn't matter what station house you went to those guys all knew guys, they had all lost guys. It's not something that you see out here a ton. I don't know anybody personally that's been lost in the line of duty but when we spent time back in New York you couldn't go anywhere--and they've got hundreds of houses--everywhere we went we ran into guys that were impacted."