The 14th Annual CT United Ride, Connecticut’s largest annual 9/11 tribute, is scheduled for Sunday, September 7.
Sponsored by the Uniformed Professional Firefighters of America (UPFFA)-Connecticut chapter, organizers are expecting motorcyclists from all over Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and as far south as Maryland to participate in the annual ride to honor those lost on 9/11. Attendance is expected to reach 4,000 riders, with more than 10,000 people lining the 60-mile route while waving American flags and cheering on the riders, who will be participating in one of the largest single charity rides in New England.
An opening ceremony is slated to begin at 10:30, at Norden Industrial Park in Norwalk.
The ride starts in Norwalk at 11:30 am and goes through Fairfield County, ending in Bridgeport with an afternoon party at the beach. Motorcycles travel through 11 towns, covering 60 miles with police motorcycle escorts providing passage through signal lights and stop signs, before ending with a five-mile parade through Bridgeport.
The route brings riders, and in many cases passengers, into Newtown via Route 302 from Bethel. Riders follow Route 302 to its intersection with Route 25, and then travel south, heading into Monroe. Roadways are closed or travel is significantly limited while the motorcycles are passing through.
Newtown Police Sargeant Aaron Bahamonda said this week that the department expects the ride to arrive in Newtown around 12:30 on Sunday.
It can take up to 30 minutes for the ride to fully pass through town.
Drivers will not be allowed onto the eastbound lane of Sugar Street or southbound South Main Street while motorcycles are on the roadway.
In all 11 towns visited by the ride, fire departments display American flags over the roadway.
In Newtown, members of Dodgingtown and Hawleyville companies are stationed near Dodgingtown’s fire station at 55 Dodgingtown Road; Hook & Ladder and Sandy Hook members are near Amaral Motors, at 40 South Main Street; and Botsford Fire Rescue members are at their station, 315 South Main Street.
The public is invited to join firefighters at any of those locations, or anywhere along the route. American flags to wave at riders are strongly encouraged.
Fred Garrity, executive director of the ride, said the event continues not only for those who were lost, but also for those who continue to serve in the fire service.
“For those that lost their lives, for those that gave their lives, and for those that continue to put their lives on the line every day to protect us as a result of 9/11 — that’s why we ride,” said Mr Garrity.
The opening ceremony will include The Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem, Connecticut Firefighters Pipes & Drums, a moment of silence followed by Norwalk Fire ringing their bell 11 times beneath two fire ladder trucks holding a 50-foot American flag. Scheduled speakers will include Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, US Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Congressman Jim Himes, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, and several other state and local elected officials.
In addition Peter Carozza, president of the UPFFA of CT, and Mr Garrity will speak during the opening service.
Registration Still Open
Riders are still welcome to join this year’s event. Registration can be done on Saturday, September 6, between 11 am and 4 pm, at Captain’s Cove Marina, Bostwick Avenue in Bridgeport.
Final registrations will also be accepted on Sunday morning, between 8 and 10:45 am, at 10 Norden Place in Norwalk.
Cost is $25 per rider, and $25 per passenger. The event is a fundraiser, with proceeds divided between Connecticut firefighters and law enforcement, and two United Way agencies.
Visit CTUnitedRide.com for additional information, including the registration form for those who would like to print and fill it out in advance.