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Motorcyclists, public invited to vets’ Sept. 11 commemoration

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image Riders from AMVETS Post 44 will be among those participating in the Patriot Day Remembrance Ride. AMVETS Post 44 Photo

The event has raised more than $25,000 to support local charities, including for recreational services at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Charities.

By Kevin Brady 
 
South Shore and Brandon area veterans will mark the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks with a memorial and remembrance ride next week.

The events are open to the public and any area bikers.

American Veterans (AMVETS) Post 44, which draws members from the South Shore area and greater Brandon, have been hard at work preparing for the event for months.

The event is set for Saturday, Sept. 14 from noon to 5 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park,  U.S. Highway 301.

Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance occurs on Sept. 11 each year in memory of the 2,977 people killed in the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

“We are inviting the community to come and show their appreciation for the [Tampa] Bay area’s first responders and military men and women,” said Michael Graham, commander of AMVETS Post 44.

“Our goals are to inspire and remind the community of the patriotism and pride that brought the nation together after the terrorist attacks, to remember those who lost their lives that day and in the conflicts since then [and] to honor and show community support for our first responders and our military, the heroic men and women who serve to protect us every day,” said Graham, a U.S. Army veteran.

Although the event has previously focused mostly on the military, this year’s event will highlight those a little closer to home.

“This year we want to focus attention to the fact that our civilian first responders undertake equally difficult duties, and perform those duties in equally, if not even more, dangerous environments,” Graham said.

The event has raised more than $25,000 to support local charities, including for recreational services at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Charities.

A short memorial ceremony is set to begin at 1:19 p.m., with Command Sgt. Major Chris Faris, U.S. Special Operations Command Senior Enlisted Advisor, as the keynote speaker. Festivities include a family friendly festival with live entertainment from local performers Jacked Up. The event will also feature various vendors and interactive displays from the military and first responders.

Cost for a barbeque dinner and a chance to win one of several grand prizes is a $15 donation (or $25 for two attendees).

Grand prizes include roundtrip airfare for two, an iPad or a two-night, three-day stay at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach. Other items will be raffled off. Also on tap, a live auction and 50/50 cash raffle.

Patriot Day Remembrance Ride

Motorcyclists for the Patriot Day Remembrance Ride will gather at six locations throughout the Tampa Bay area, from which they will ride to the Patriot Day Observance. These locations are:
•    Harley-Davidson of Brandon, 9841 Adamo Drive (State Road 60)
•    Jim’s Harley-Davidson, Clearwater, 2805 54th Ave. North, St. Petersburg
•    Gulf Coast Harley-Davidson, 5817 State Road 54, New Port Richey
•    Manatee River Harley-Davidson, 624 67th Street Circle East, Bradenton
•    Harley-Davidson of Lakeland, 4202 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland
•    Harley-Davidson of Tampa, 6920 North Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa

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