BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — "This event is the definition of people who have truly never forgotten," said Ben Patten.
Saturday marks twenty years since 9/11, and sixteen years since the Armed Forces Support Foundation began their annual memorial motorcycle ride.
“‘Never forget' is not just a catch phrase. It's not just fashionable. It really means something. 3,000 people that day. Heroes were made that day," said Patten.
Patten is a co-founder of the Armed Forces Support Foundation. He said the ride is meant to honor everyone lost.
"Most of the people we lost on September 11, 2001, were not soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines," he said. "They were moms and dads. They were people who went to work. They were people who dropped their kids off at daycare. They didn’t sign up for that."
And to thank those serving our country, past and present.
“Nobody flew an airplane into someplace somebody I love was yesterday and why is that? Because of the men and women standing that line, and our little motorcycle ride every year on September 11 is to honor them," said Patten.
Patten said the ride sees anywhere from fifty to 300 bikers each year. Whether veterans come out in person or not, this event reminds them they are deeply appreciated
“There are 50,000 vets in Kern County, from World War II to Afghanistan three weeks ago. Those men and women need to be honored. Those men and women need to be respected. Those men and women need to be remembered and thanked, and that’s what this is about," said Patten.
Riders are asked to gather at Harley-Davidson on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The ride will begin at 6 p.m., traveling from 7th Standard Road to Allen Road. They will then ride from Stockdale Highway to Buena Vista Road escorted by the Bakersfield Police Department’s motorcycle division to the city’s event at the Buena Vista police and fire station.
Patten reminds the community that 9/11 isn’t about fundraising or celebration. It’s about remembering.
“All those people who have stepped up and made sure [we] can live the lives that we want to live every day," he said.
That's what it’s really about
Anyone is welcome to join Saturday's ride. If you don’t have a bike, you can drive in your car behind the motorcycles.