Veterans and first responders bike to 9/11 memorials

YORK, Pa. -- One hundred injured war veterans and first responders arrived at the Quality Inn in York Sunday on their "Ride 2 Recovery" to New York City.

They started their 9/11 Memorial Bike Ride Challenge near the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and they will end at the World Trade Center.

For one bicyclist, the details of September 11 are forever on his mind.

Robert Gray was captain of the Arlington County Fire Department in Virginia during 9/11.

Gray said, "Today has been kind of a difficult day on the bike because I have a lot of memories from that and I lost friends in New York."

He helped put out the fire at the Pentagon and later recovered the remains of people who didn't make it out alive.
"And we continued to search for those who lost their lives in there and worked with the Old Guard to remove the people from the building," Gray said.

Many veterans said 9/11 was a significant day for many servicemen and women that changed their lives forever.

Joe Coddington, the event director for Ride 2 Recovery, said, "Many of these guys have received their injuries or their wounds in combat because they signed up because of what happened on this day 15 years ago."

Some of the cyclists participating in the 9/11 Memorial Challenge have physical injuries. Others suffer from mental and emotional injuries, like PTSD.

Jeff Moser, an Iraq war veteran, said,"To be honest with you, they get kind of lost out there in the civilian world and this is a way to bring them back to people who connect with them to help them deal with some of the issues they might have. And plus, being on a bike is just a healing tool itself."

The bike ride to the World Trade Center is truly a ride for all veterans to recovery.

Gray said, "The one thing I'd like to get out to everybody is never give up."

The bicyclists are scheduled to arrive in New York City on Wednesday.