As the 480 foot spire was installed on top of the Freedom Tower, hundreds of men and women were already on the road as part of a fundraiser that remembers police officers who were killed in the line of duty.
The bikers are part of the annual Police Unity Tour, a 300 mile, 4 day bike ride from New York to the Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC.
“On those memorial walls are inscribed the names of close to 20,000 american law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty,” said Bobby Egbert, Co-Founder of Chapter 37 based in New York.
Only 18 officers were part of the first tour back in 1997. They each raised $1,000 and donated $18,000 to the memorial.
This year, more than 1,600 bikers participated and raised over $1.7 million.
Only current officers, retired officer, and survivors can participate in the ride.
“I get to ride with guys my dad worked with, that means a lot to me, I get to hear about him and celebrate his life,” said Chris Howard. His father George was a Port Authority Police Officer who was killed on 9/11.
Nearly 200 members of Chapter 37 gathered at the reflecting pools on Thursday for the sendoff ceremony.