Bishop takes different path for 9-11 anniversary

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)--People from across the country are preparing to head to New York City this week, for the 12th anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks.

Bishop Dan Johnson is pastor of the Heart of Fire Church on Bardstown Road in Southeast Louisville. Instead of returning to Ground Zero this year, Johnson will join bikers from across the country who'll make the trek to Washington, D.C., instead.

Bishop Johnson's trip will mark the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.

"Our purpose is to remember those that were lost on 9-11," says Bishop Dan Johnson, 9-11 responder.

Ironically, Johnson was in New York City 12 years ago during the attacks.

Johnson says, "I remember exactly where I was.  Of course I was there in New York... in the New Yorker hotel.  And I watched the plane hit that second tower."

Johnson then did what hundreds of first responders did.

"And that's all I felt is there's going to be people in need and people hurting, I need to go help," says Johnson.

That's when he became the Ground Zero religious representative and even set up a morgue there.

Johnson says, "It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life."

It was hard, however, Johnson met and made some lifelong friends.  That includes President George W. Bush, Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

"I was with him daily during that time."  Meanwhile, this will be the first time since the attacks that Johnson has not returned to New York.

Johnson says, "This year is a very different year all the way around."

It's different because Johnson will join bikers from across the country on a journey to Washington, D.C., this week.

He says, "Was asked to help head up this 2-million motorcycle ride and to be the spokesperson for that."  It is an offer the Bishop could not refuse.

"We will ride all the way to the White House."  So, he'll miss the ceremonies in New York.  But one look at his Harley or his license plate, and it's crystal clear where his heart is.

Bishop Johnson says the plan is for the bike ride to become an annual event.

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