Rockford firefighter joins first responders and military veterans on cross-country bike ride to remember those lost on September 11th

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO)- A group of first responders and veterans who are biking from coast-to-coast to honor those lost on September 11th make a stop in the Forest City.

The “Bay to Brooklyn” ride started in California on August 1st and is scheduled to end in New York on September 9th.

Rockford firefighter Chris Kowalski has spent the better part of a week pounding the pavement as part of the group.

“I met up with the guys over in Sioux City, Iowa and rode all across Iowa, going to ride all the way through Illinois, and going to go to Indiana with them, so I’ll be riding with them from last Sunday through this Friday,” he said. “It’s been fantastic. They’re a great bunch of guys, and I’ve had a great time riding across a couple of states with them.”

The bikers plan to visit the United Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon, and the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance during the 3,800 mile-ride.

On Wednesday night, they took a moment at the Winnebago County Emergency Responders Memorial to commemorate the 343 firefighters who died while trying to save others nearly 20 years ago.

“Some of the days get long, and you get tired. And that’s what’s pushing us through these tough times,” said Kowalski. “We’re riding 100 miles a day, and it can start to play mind games on with you, and thinking about those guys, those families we lost back then, it helps motivate you, push you forward.”

The bikers plan to leave the Rockford area Thursday morning for another 76 mile ride before stopping in Chicago.

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