If you were a teenager or older in 2001 you will remember where you were the morning of September 11. Last weekend I took the opportunity whilst in New York to visit the 9/11 Memorial. I am always impressed by the way Americans remember their past. The memorials across the USA depicting historic events or people are second to none. The 9/11 Memorial is no exception. If you ever find yourself in New York, the memorial is a must experience. Not just to view, but actually experience. Within the memorial are three motorcycles. The white chopper is a real piece of riding art and commemorates the rebuilding of the World Trade Centre. Commissioned by Daniel Tishman and built by Paul Teutul Jr of American Chopper fame. The design reflects the architecture of the new World Trade Centre. The spokes on the front wheel represent the One World Trade Centre and the ribbed fuel tank the façade of the Oculus, the focal point of the new World Trade Centre Transportation Hub. The mirror finish on the back wheel represents the two reflecting pools of the 9/11 Memorial. The Harley Sportster was owned by James Cartier, an electrician who was lost his life at the World Trade Centre. James’ brother John transformed the motorcycle into a tribute to his brother, reflecting James’ interests, including his favorite sports team and a children’s book character called Curious George. The front mudguard is dedicated to the electrical workers of which 17 members were killed in the attacks. The rear mudguard pays tribute to the US Military. The third bike on display (not shown in full - sorry) is Ted Sjurseth’s Harley decorated as an American Flag with the names of the first responders on the rear. Ted organized a memorial motorcycle ride to honor those killed on 9/11. The event grew into the yearly America’s 9/11 Ride, where hundreds ride to the Flight 93 crash site in Pennsylvania, stop off at the Pentagon in Virginia before concluding the ride at the World Trade Center site.
Motorcycles then are more than just vehicles. They can represent many different things. In this case, these bikes are symbols of a date in history, a historic world event, each with their own unique story to tell. They are memorials within the memorial. Whether you like motorcycles or not, you can’t help but recognize the significance of these beautiful machines that allows you to both admire and reflect at the same time.