First Responders Reflect on 9/11 Attacks in Tribute Motorcycle Ride Across Mackinac Bridge

Many use September 11 as a way to honor and remember those lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

First responders from across the country, and even Canada, jumped on 350 motorcycles to take a ride to remember those lost 18 years ago Wednesday.

“It was my goal to keep that memory alive, and we lost a lot of brothers and sisters that day, it’s paying tribute to them and their sacrifice,” said Karl Kuss, organizer of the ride.

It’s a sacrifice each of these riders knows.

Each of them has a story of someone they knew or worked with, lost or affected by the attacks.

Daniel Dugard was a firefighter in Washington, D.C. that day.

Like many of us, he saw things unfold on television.

“It became obvious, man I gotta get back to work, I got to work,” Dugard said.

He went in, helping in every way he could as his brothers in uniform responded to the attack on the Pentagon.

Mark Chai had just got off duty in New Jersey when he was called back in.

“We got on the scene, maybe half an hour after the first tower collapsed,” Chai said. “I think about it every day.”

John Davis worked just miles from Chai in New Jersey and was also sent in to help at Ground Zero.

“It was surreal, it was hard to grasp the magnitude of what went on, none of us had seen an incident this big,” Davis said.

“It didn’t take long looking through the pile to realize, you’re not going to find any survivors,”

In the weeks after the attack, Davis’ crew began helping families at firehouses, including attending funerals for fallen firefighters

“We attended funerals for months, sometimes two or three a day, it was surreal, it remains surreal,” Davis said. “It takes an emotional toll on you at that point.”

Like many, Chai lost friends that day. He wears special patches on his vest to honor them.

These men try to remember the good we saw in the days after the attacks.

“The way people stood together, arm and arm, helping out, it showed we could stand together as a country, no matter what,” Davis said.