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Alaska firefighters to ride motorcycles for Sept. 11

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Posted: Saturday, September 10, 2011 5:57 pm | Updated: 1:20 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

• Editor's Note: For our complete coverage of the Sept. 11 events, visit newsminer.com/sept11

KENAI, Alaska - Firefighters from the Kenai area will embark on a roughly 911-mile motorcycle ride to commemorate the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Peninsula Clarion reports that (http://bit.ly/o8Goew) the ride is one of a couple of activities firefighters here will be doing to honor the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, including the display of a piece of metal from the fallen towers.

"We're firefighters and we ride motorcycles. We said, 'Hey, why don't we do a big 911-mile ride for 9/11,'" said Central Emergency Services firefighter John Lendess. "According to Google, it's real close," Landess said. "I think about Sterling is where the exact 911 miles is. It means a lot, obviously nothing can ever replace those who were lost, and the pain and suffering that families knew."

The ride will start in Anchorage, go up to Fairbanks, and end at the Harley-Davidson shop in Soldotna. The ride is 911 miles, with a little extra at the end.

Landess' chief, Chris Mokracek, years stumbled upon an opportunity while browsing the internet - pieces of steel from the World Trade Center, provided by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, available to be used in permanent memorials across the county. Immediately, he knew this was an opportunity that could not be passed up. After more than a year of paperwork, one of those pieces is now on the Kenai Peninsula.

"Our small piece, it's so heavy," Mokracek said. "Just imagine weight and the size of the disaster, it's pretty impressive."

The piece of steel weighs about 70 pounds, and is 16 inches long by about 10 to 12 inches tall, he said. It is a reminder of the tragic loss that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, which hit especially close to home for Mokracek. He remembers the firefighters that were able to save countless lives by being able to evacuate the buildings before they collapsed.

"There's sorrow but there's also so much pride involved in that," he said. "To have just a small piece as a token and a reminder, it's important for us. It was their darkest hour, but it was their finest hour."

The steel will be on display while CES hosts a Sept. 11 Memorial Ceremony Sunday. The tragedy hits home to many firefighters and first responders across the nation, as they commemorate the fallen in their own ways.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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