Chicago firefighter Tom Maloney started an annual pilgrimage from U.S. Cellular field to Manhattan, stopping at the Pentagon and the site where Flight 93 went down in Pennsylvania along the way.
On September 11, 2001, he rushed to Ground Zero to aid the New York Fire Department’s efforts. A year later, Maloney, who spent 12 days working in New York in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, felt the need for some outlet to cope with the memories of the experience that still haunted him.
“It was an emotional experience being there,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times. “The things I did. The things I experienced. The shock I felt with the rest of the country. I saw things firsthand. I met guys, firemen, big, tall, burly guys who just cried their eyes out. It’s hard for me to explain what it was like to work there with them New York guys … It’s like guys who fight in battle together. I can still see their faces.”
For the tenth anniversary ride Tuesday, 190 bikers took off from at 35th and Shields at 9:11 a.m., as they have every year since 2001, and hundreds more are expected to join along the way.