“For those that lost their lives, those that gave their lives, and those that continue to put their lives on the line each day to keep us safe — that’s why we ride.”
Report by Paula Antolini
September 12, 2016 4:53PM EDT
Photo above: CT United Ride 2016 driver wearing a firefighter helmet reading “Captain” and “Kent” and a “Thin Red Line” flag flies behind. The “Thin Red Line” is a symbol used by fire departments to show respect for firefighters injured and killed in the line of duty. CLICK HERE to read more about the meaning.
PHOTOS/VIDEOS: The 16th Annual ‘CT United Ride’ Pays Tribute on 15th Anniversary of 9/11
This year’s CT United Ride is the 15th Anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. This is Connecticut’s largest annual 9/11 tribute and the largest single ride in New England. An estimated 10,000 spectators come out to watch the event.
Thousands of motorcycles drive through parts of Connecticut on September 11th each year honoring many. CT United Ride does this tribute, “For those that lost their lives, those that gave their lives, and those that continue to put their lives on the line each day to keep us safe — that’s why we ride.”
The motorcycles passed through Bethel at approximately 12:20 p.m. on Sunday, September 11, 2016, traveling north on Route 58 from Redding, turning right on Route 302, and headed into Newtown. The ride originates in Norwalk and ends in Bridgeport, traveling with full police escort through 11 cities and towns: Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, Georgetown, Redding, Bethel, Newtown, Monroe, Trumbull, Fairfield, and Bridgeport.
In each of the towns, the local Fire Departments bring out their ladder trucks and hang the American Flag from their extended ladders over the roadway traveled by the riders; ending with a double Ladder Truck Arch holding a single American Flag, formed with Bridgeport and Fairfield Fire Departments at Seaside Park in Bridgeport. (See exact route below.)
Photo above: The American Flag hung briefly over Route 58 in Bethel in honor of 9/11, before the memorial CT United Ride motorcade began, but had to be taken down due to safety issues when wind gusts started to tear the flag.
The Bethel Fire and EMS Volunteer Fire Department had their ladder truck stationed at Route 58 and Starr Lane, joining the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department ladder truck parked across the road on Sunset Hill Road, to honor 9/11, and hang a large American flag, belonging to New Fairfield FD, over the road. However, this year higher wind gusts caused part of the flag to tear away and they decided to remove the flag before the riders came through, due to safety.
“Bethel Fire Department Chief Fred Ingram confirmed that this is the same flag that hung over Route 58 in the CT United Ride of 2013, a flag with a special significance in remembrance of 9/11. The flag honors Chris Blackwell, who was a Paramedic in Bethel, a Volunteer Fire Fighter in New Fairfield and also worked for the New York Fire Department, Rescue Company Number 3, of the Bronx, and died in the 9/11 tragedy. He was a resident of New Fairfield. New Fairfield Selectman Mike Gill said that the flag was owned by Dan Reese, Chairman of the Board of Finance in New Fairfield. He then gave it to William (Bill) DeFeo, who was a former selectman and probate judge, who now loans the flag for occasions such as this, Gill said.”
The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company hung their flag off their ladder truck parked on Route 58 and Sara’s Way, a few blocks north.
Two photos above: Bethel firefighters hold flag over Route 58, assisted by New Fairfield firefighters, as wind gusts try to pull it away before the CT United Ride 2016 passed through Bethel.
Two photos above: Bethel firefighters remove over Route 58 for safety reasons, as wind gusts tore the upper left flag, before the CT United Ride 2016 passed through Bethel.
The CT United Ride had three accidents this year, all occurring at almost the same time, in different locations, and delayed the ride a bit, causing minor injuries. According to a report by the CT Post, Police Lt. James Perez said a group of bikers traveled along Park Avenue near Shirley Place at about 1:15 p.m., and a bike being ridden by Ephrem Medina, 47, of Bridgeport, drifted to the left and hit an esplanade and Medina suffered a broken arm. The report further states Perez said bicyclists on Pequot Avenue traveling about 25 mph hit a parked SUV and a woman driving on Stilson Road swiped two parked cars near a baseball field.
- Motorcade from Norden Park to Rte 136
- to Rte 33 through Westport
- to Wilton Rte 7
- to Rte 107 Georgetown
- to Rte 58N Redding
- to Rte 302 Bethel
- to Newtown Rte 25 through Monroe
- to Main Street Trumbull
- to Old Town Rd
- to Park Ave in Fairfield
- continuing into Bridgeport and straight down to Seaside Park with Bridgeport’s Fire Rescue 5 leading the Motorcade.
VIEW VIDEO OF BEGINNING OF RIDE THROUGH BETHEL CT HERE:
VIEW VIDEO OF END OF RIDE THROUGH BETHEL CT HERE:
VIEW MORE PHOTOS BELOW: