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Sunday, May 20, 2012

I wish I could explain it, I'm not sure I can. I'll try, but I'll do it no justice.

Yesterday was the third annual motorcycle Freedom Ride. It was to honor those that give and have given their lives for our country.

I love being in the middle of a bunch of bikers. The leather, the long braided hair, the tattoos and of course the bikes. Being in the midst of such a group I'm able to see something that most, or I assume most, people outside of the group don't see.

I look past the preconceived image and I see the brotherhood, the honor, the genuine friendliness, and people that are real, there is no pretension.  Bikers in general are usually looked upon by outsiders as rule breakers, outlaws, drinking, brawling heathens. Yes, there's some of that in the biker "subculture," but it's the exception, not the rule.

In the biker world there is no back biting, no gossiping, no self righteousness. It's a far cry from many of cliques of today in neighborhoods, corporations, the church and the world in general.

We began our day in the parking lot of a Harley dealership in Vancouver, Washington. Isabella and I were surrounded by about 200 other bikes as we started out on our day long journey to Albany, Oregon to give honor to our fallen troops, our veterans, our lost and unknown.

If you've never ridden in a pack of bikes, it's a wonderful feeling. The roar of the pipes is an amazing sound, especially when several hundred bikes are together riding down I-5, or a country lane. I did both yesterday.

In honor of all our troops many of the bikes flew full sized flags behind them, many others had smaller flags. It was awe inspiring. We had wonderful road guards, whose job it was to block oncoming traffic at red lights, on ramps and intersections so that the group of bikes could stay together.

We rode the back roads through Canby, Silverton, and Scio on our way to Albany. In all of the towns were police officers and deputy sheriffs blocking traffic so we could pass in safety.

In Silverton there was a lone officer blocking traffic at the main intersection in the tiny town. He stood at attention and saluted as hundreds of motorcycles roared by carrying the Stars and Stripes of our country. The diva that doesn't do tears, cried at the sight of the young man and his honor for our country and the troops we rode for.

On the back roads for as far as the eyes could see there was a long line of staggered bikes snaking it's way through the beautiful Oregon countryside. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the site but since I was riding myself there was no way I could get pictures while on the bike.

We made a stop and picked up about a hundred more riders and their beautiful machines before making our way to the Albany Memorial.

When we arrived at the memorial we walked the memorial touching the names on the stones for the fallen. We traced the names and the dates with our fingers. We cried at the memorial for the POWs and the MIAs.

After about a half hour hats were removed, the Pledge of Allegiance recited and the Star Spangled Banner sang. It was a beautiful and moving site to see all of the big burly bikers with their hands over their hearts and tears in their eyes.

It was a wonderful day with several hundred of my closest friends. One that I won't soon forget.



Unknown May 20, 2012 at 10:36 PM  

This is my favorite week of the year here. We are a central point for bikers from all over the USA to meet before heading the final leg to Washington DC to the Wall. Greasy Belcher is a personal friend, he is one of many who got it started in the grassroots stage. A man who has been to Vietnam so many times proving we have men left alive over there that he is no longer allowed in the country. I will be in the next town over when they arrive as I am every year. On the roadside with tears and waves for the ones who come here to ride for the ones who cannot any longer.

Outcast May 21, 2012 at 2:08 AM  

It's great to hear that you had such a great day at this event Diva, it sounds seriously awesome too, great photos as well. Now I want to be a biker haha.

Liz Mays May 23, 2012 at 7:13 AM  

I really like the way you described how it feels to be a part of the group. Accepted and not judged. Love it! What a beautiful moment of memory. :)

Christy May 23, 2012 at 7:46 PM  

A very nice tribute. Love it!

Nolie May 24, 2012 at 12:00 PM  

/tears The city I used to live in had a bunch of bikers who ride to raise money for soldier on.

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