I had the opportunity to work with Melissa from the Military Veteran Project on Ride 4 The Fallen.I have raved before how awesome this foundation is and all the great things Melissa and her volunteers are doing. She runs an operation that is 100% fueled by volunteers. Also all money raised goes right back into helping veterans in need of medical attention and more. It is amazing to watch.
So Saturday the 10th I woke my family at the ungodly hour of 5:30. As complaints from the peanut gallery about being up so early and mommy I am tired. I rattled off with They died for us so we will honor them today. I was raised to respect our fallen and our surviving veterans. You will too. Insert their eye rolls and complaining. We got out the door 7 minutes early. Which is notable because I thought for sure we would be late leaving.
We did the hour trek to Heartland Park in Topeka,KS. I was excited simply because we had driven the track prior with Melissa checking it out and seeing the route our riders would take. Amazing place. The boys had some pancakes and then went back to sleep in the car. Paul wandered around and talked with people. I took photos of the riders and pictures of who they are riding for. I listened to stories around me and chuckled. Some I had to turn as I did not want then to see the tears in my eyes. Thank god for sunglasses.
We met our first biker dog Chi Chi who is the sweetest pup and adorns fantastic outfit.
Next this rider rode for 4 of our fallen hero’s.
They are in the midst of lining up getting ready to start the next part of ride.
They started Roll Call it is still has chilling and honoring as I remembered from my days in the girl scouts and doing the memorial day parade in my small town. They called off our handful of fallen. Taps was played. Still makes me cry and can transport me right back to my Dad’s services. As it played I was transported to stand above the track and get ready for the riders to be escorted around the track. They lined up and off they went. That was something to see. I am not sure exactly how many riders we had. There was well over 100. From Heartland they went to the next destination. There we had lunch with vets and I really got to know some who have served our country.
On the way to the next destination I taught my kids about the tradition of leaving coins on the soldiers grave. Which we did later on. I will share that as well. We arrived to our spot. I got tons of pictures. I have chosen only to show the one that my children are in for privacy of those. Until I get the ok that I can share them. We also rode in honor of SFC. Jarvis who was 36 and was from Tell City, IN. We also rode for Sgt. Ford 4o years old from East Hartford CT. We have ties to him. I grew up living next to his father and his brother dated my sister.
The gentleman in the picture with my son is a Chaplin and he is still practicing. Prior to going to Seminary School he served in Vietnam. He has a stick that he calls the God stick and it has almost all the units emblems and more on it. Next year we will bring him some Ordnance ones. I will have them with me at the veterans day parade just incase you never know. The boys loved talking with him. He is such a kind soul. His God stick is impressive.
As I walked around and got photos of gold star mothers, family members, riders and veterans. I stumbled upon one gentleman who was cracking me up. He asked me what a selfie was. So I gladly showed how a selfie was done. He asked me to place it on facebook so I did for him. He was a hoot. I guess this started because he over heard young people talking about it. He served in Vietnam with the Navy.
Blake and I were talking after this ride. One thing we both agreed on is that we will never get tired of honoring our Veterans past and presents. Nor the ones that have given their life for our freedom. I was told to mark my calendar for May 2nd, 2015 is when we will do this again. We will gladly be back doing the same thing.