To commemorate the 10 year anniversary of September 11th, the USS Orleck Naval Museum hosted its first annual Patriot Ride. More than a hundred riders on motorcycles, classic cars, military and personal vehicles are riding in front of the Lake Charles, Moss Bluff, Westlake and Sulphur Fire Departments for a single-file, rolling salute to our area fire fighters as part of the route.
"We are not only remembering the nearly 3,000 men, women and children who lost their lives that day, but we are remembering the first responders who did their jobs and continue to do their jobs," said Major Ron Williams, with USS Orleck Naval Museum.
The ride is also honoring the service and sacrifice of Active Duty Military, Veterans, Police Officers and Fire Fighters that protect us at home and abroad.
"We honor the more than 6,000 service members who have given their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the tens of thousands of our wounded warriors and the gold star families of our fallen heroes," said Captain Kevin Brummett, U.S. Army.
"I recently heard a radio interview with WWII veterans. During the interview they were asked if they thought their would ever be another 'Greatest Generation.' Without hesitation - they said there already is and they are actively serving and fighting overseas for freedom," said Brummett.
Willie Morvant is in the Navy Reserves and served overseas in Operation Enduring Freedom. This day has a lot of meaning to him and the battle that America continues to fight.
"We need to understand what we are fighting for. The people over there are fighting for our freedom. That's what they do. Without them the war would be over here. We need them," said Morvant.
For most of the riders it was easy to recall where they were ten years ago on that tragic day.
"Ten years ago I was driving to work. I heard the news on the radio and pulled over. It was a sad moment in time... so we just wanted to come out and ride for the cause," said Taylor Sanders.
Every bike decked out with an American flag, some had several. Paula Maloney said she wears her red, white and blue with pride not just on this day but every day.
"We need to keep remembering and never forget. We need to remember the soldiers who have lost their lives and the ones that are still fighting for us," said Maloney. "We need to remember where we are from and came from and that the good United States of America."
As they remember the loss and sacrifice made for freedom others pray for better days but remain vigilant.
"I'll be glad when it's finally over, but as long as people are trying to stop us from having our way of life and want to harm our country and our people - it will never stop," said Gil Chavez.
The riders eventually made their way back to the Civic Center at 4 p.m. to post individual American flags at "9/11" and Veteran's Memorial sites, and attend "9/11" memorial service events.
All proceeds from the ride will help in the restoration and maintenance of the U.S.S. Orleck Naval Museum. Organizers also say a portion will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Foundation and area first responders.