MANATEE — Steve Bonanno wanted to do something unique for the anniversary of 9/11 two years ago.
The lifetime motorcycle buff got an idea.
“There were a lot of 9/11 remembrance events,” said the 52-year-old, who moved here from New York two months before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. “Why not a 9/11 remembrance ride?”
So Bonanno e-mailed 10-15 friends, inviting them to ride with him and his wife, Lee Ann.
“One-hundred-thirty-eight showed up. Ninety percent, I didn’t know,” he said.
The Bonannos rode again last year on 9/11.
Joining them were 518 people.
This year, they’re expecting 1,000 riders for Friday’s third annual 9/11 Remembrance Ride.
“Bikers love to ride, and they love our country,” said Bonanno, who served 20 years in the Army and whose daughter, Alisha, is with the Army in Afghanistan.
“Friends in New York feel Americans have forgotten 9/11. Well, we haven’t. This reflects it,” he said. “We’re on our bikes, it shows unity and we will remember.”
The ride, put on by the county’s Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.), starts at 7 p.m. Friday at Manatee River Harley-Davidson, 624 67th St. Circle E., Bradenton, and ends at Hooters, 4908 14th St. W., Bradenton. Registration is 5:30 p.m.
For details, go online: www.911remembranceride.com. Or e-mail Bonanno at firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds go to Manasota Operation Troop Support.
Other local 9/11 events
n The city of Bradenton’s Tribute to Heroes Memorial Service, 9:30-10:30 a.m. Friday at the Emergency Services Memorial in Rossi Park. It will honor not only those who perished on 9/11, but also those who risk their lives daily to protect our community.
A Tribute to Heroes Luncheon follows from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, with guest speaker Army Brigadier Gen. Xavier P. Lobeto. Bay News 9’s Summer Smith will emcee.
For tickets, call Cheryl Richert 748-4842, ext. 115.
Proceeds go to the Emergency Services Memorial Fund.
n At Bayshore High, 5401 34th St. W., a JROTC team, the Music Makers, an ensemble of 35 advanced level singers from the school, and trumpeter Chris Burrow, will collaborate in the September Concert Foundation’s eighth annual global day of music for peace. Performances will take place from 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the school’s inner and outer courtyards.
Visit www.september concert.org for more details.
n At 3 p.m. Saturday, Main Street at Lakewood Ranch will host its first Chili Cook-Off to benefit Manatee County Fire and Rescue. Fire departments around the county will vie for chili bragging rights and your vote counts.
There will be two bands, fire trucks and rescue vehicles lining the streets.
Beer and food sales will go toward the Tribute to Heroes Emergency Services Memorial Fund.
Call Julia DeCastro at 907-9243 for details.
n On Sunday at its 8 a.m. and 10:50 a.m. services, First Baptist Church of Bradenton will honor the county’s fire, rescue and law enforcement personnel.
The featured speaker is Lt. Tommy Neiman, a St. Lucie firefighter/paramedic, known for his “Sirens for the Cross” ministry. He was one of a number of firefighter/chaplains who ministered to families of the deceased as well as on-duty firefighters in the aftermath of 9/11.
n The Americorps 20/20 VISTA Vision team is collecting donations for the county’s first “Gratitude Bags Project,” to show appreciation for fire, rescue and law enforcement personnel.
The team wants to pass out 1,000 bags of candy, gum, popcorn, etc., and a note of thanks. Such items or donations can be dropped off at Volunteer Services of Manatee County, 5131 Manatee Ave. W. Call 761-3207 for details.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055, or write Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at email@example.com.