By Hannah Lester
Hop on a bike and honor law enforcement with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, Sept. 26 for the tenth annual Ride to Remember event.
The event is held each year to honor the life of James Anderson, who lost his life during a traffic stop over ten years ago.
Anderson was training a new deputy in 2009 on the day of his death. The two were near Smiths Station, and they were performing a routine traffic stop. Anderson came to the right of the vehicle and as the subject in the vehicle moved forward, he pinned Anderson under the car.
Anderson lost his life and was one of the first law enforcement officers Lee County lost, said Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy Adalberto Rosa.
The event will be held Saturday and will begin at the Smiths Station Junior High School at 10 a.m. EST. Anyone in the community is welcome to attend, Rosa said.
He recommended everyone arrive before 10 a.m. EST, however.
“We line all the motorcycles, we give a safety briefing and normally we have law enforcement escort from the sheriff’s office, sometimes state troopers,” he said. “And then we line all the bikes with the family up front.”
After the ride to the cemetery where Anderson is buried, a small ceremony will be held.
If you want to attend but don’t have a motorcycle, cars will follow after the bikes.
The ‘Ride to Remember’ event was created after Anderson’s death as a way to honor his life, sacrifice and service.
“Our main intent and goal at the time was to do it on a weekend and to bring the motorcycle community, as well as the rest of the community,” Rosa said.
This is not the only ceremony to honor Anderson, however. Rosa said that the sheriff’s office holds its own ceremony.
“We decided, the sheriff’s office does one thing but let’s do something that we can bring the community and humanize James Anderson and show who he was as a person, as a friend, a son, as a husband, as a father and as a grandfather,” he said.
Rosa said he is not sure whether there will be protests this year at the event but said he hopes there are not as that would take away from the purpose.
“I don’t want people to lose the human side of us as law enforcement officers,” Rosa said. “We are people from the community, we are people within the community. We live in the community. We want to ensure that we have peace and order but … to us, it is important for everybody to know there is a human side to us. Because everybody tries to look at us as different and we’re not different from anybody else.”