SHAFTER, Calif. - Sept. 11 tributes were held all around Kern County on Tuesday. The largest of them wrapped up Tuesday night in Shafter.
The 9/11 Support Our Troops Memorial Run kicked off Tuesday afternoon with over 300 motorcyclists gathering in northwest Bakersfield. At 6 p.m., the group rode their motorcycles to Minter Field Air Museum to honor those lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
"The tragedy and everything that happened on 9/11, we can never forget this -- never," said Henry Maretich, a participant.
Like many Americans, Maretich has made a pledge about Sept. 11, 2001, but his story is a little different. He is not only an Army veteran, but was also a volunteer firefighter.
"Those were, for me, 343 of my brothers and sisters that went in that building," said Maretich. "It does stir up a lot of things. As a volunteer firefighter, we don't have a lot, but I can just imagine what those guys were going through."
Maretich was one of the hundreds of people who participated in the memorial run, which is an event that has grown each and every year.
"To remember the patriotism this community and this country had," said Ben Patten, an organizer, when asked why the event is held. "Look around you. These people are patriots. These are the Americans who didn't forget. We aren't here to celebrate. We're here to remember and keep this memory alive so it doesn't happen again."
Remembering the date, the events that happened and the feelings all Americans felt, are all things that has defined a generation.
"My mom still remembers the day President (John F.) Kennedy was shot like it was yesterday and how devastated she was," said Tiffany Nichols, a participant. "This is our President Kennedy getting shot, for those of us who don't remember. It's very important we remember every day."
Participants like Maretich say it's important to remember Sept. 11 not only for the lives that have already been taken, but for those who continue to fight every day.
"We got guys overseas who are fighting and dying for our rights to do what we do, like this event," said Maretich. "We are proud to do it."
There was a $10 donation required to participate in the run. A portion of the proceeds go to Minter Field, and the rest will benefit our local veterans programs.