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Dec Florida Events 2017

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Welcome Home Celebration

By Metric and Phoenix

[singlepic id=2298 w=320 h=240 float=left]By the time you read this article Veterans Day will have come and gone, but in my mind every day should be Veterans Day. If it was not for the Veterans we would not have a need to celebrate any day. Of all the wars that the United States of America has been involved in the Vietnam War Veteran returned home to a much different “Welcome Home” than previous wars. World War I and II Veterans were welcomed home with honor and respect. The Korean War Veteran was the “forgotten” Veteran who came home and picked up with their lives as if they had never served. The Vietnam Veteran came home to be spit on and called a “baby killer”, not by foreign enemies, but by people that call themselves “Americans”. This should have never happened and we as Veterans should ensure that it never happens again. We must take the lead on welcoming home all our veterans from all wars.

In October, I had the privilege and honor to be part of the escort for the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall to the American Legion Post in the small town of Ft Meade. For such a small town they had a “HUGE” welcome. The streets were lined with school kids waving American flags, the local ROTC units saluted as we passed and best of all Veterans from the previous wars struggled to get out of their wheelchairs to salute their brother and sister Veterans. The escort of nearly four hundred motorcycles was a great success thanks to all the organization that took part in the escort. Special recognition to the Viet Nam Veterans MC, the United States Military Veterans MC, the American Legion Riders, and the Christian Motorcycle Association who assisted in the set-up and staging of the event. Thanks to Hot Tails Cycles for the coffee and donuts. I know the police escort really appreciated them, just kidding, guys. Special thanks to all the law enforcement officers who assisted with the escort, these guys are true bikers.

The wall had one of the most beautiful backdrops at the American Post 23 in Ft Meade. The Post is located in a mobile home park with a beautiful lake behind the wall. Two members from the Post, Don Oakley and Jim West along with many others worked their butts off to make it a great success. Special thanks to Don Oakley who coordinated the motorcycle escort and the transportation of Veterans from the James Haley Hospital to attend Opening Ceremonies. It was an honor to be in the presence of these heroes.

At zero dark thirty on Sunday morning, I had my opportunity to pay my respects to my brothers and sisters alone. As I walked the wall I noticed not one name had a (D) Democrat or a (R) Republican, white or black, male or female, Christian, Jew or Muslin indicator behind their name. They were all Veterans. My thought was these were more than just names on a wall they were brothers and sisters that I will never be able to ride with. So the next time you mount up to enjoy the wind in your face remember it’s not the bike you ride or the patch that you wear that makes us free, it is the Veteran.


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