I've been neglecting my blog recently. I just couldn't find the time to sit down and put together a string a thoughts that made any sense.
With my social calender full,the home repairs I'm behind on and a round of golf have kept me pretty busy, and, oh yeah, the parade I was in.
Doesn't everyone ride down a police escorted parade route now and again? I did.
I mentioned in a previous post that my daughters fiance Jim, came home from Afghanistan a few weeks ago. His parents informed us that they were going to throw a welcome home party, complete with a parade through his hometown in Pennsylvania.
I thought this sounded pretty interesting, even though I had no idea what to expect.
As I overheard various conversations about this, I surmised there was going to be an escort of some kind, complete with fire trucks. Who doesn't like a parade with fire trucks involved?
My daughter, Jim, his parents and my wife and I synchronized our watches and agreed to meet at a specified time. We then made the ride to their local fire house where the parade would begin.
Have I mentioned that Jim hated every aspect of this plan?
He did. Jim isn't a parade kind of guy.
But he did spend the last 7 months, waking up with a weapon by his side,with people shooting at him, so his parents thought he deserved a parade. I agreed.
The fact that he was dreading every moment of this event just made it more....entertaining.
I didn't know what to expect. I was thinking, ok, maybe a fire truck a cop car and a flag or two and that would be that.
What I witnessed this day was a very interesting and impressive form of patriotism.
When we pulled into the fire house parking lot, we were met with 2 local TV news stations, an antique fire truck that Jim would be sitting in to lead the parade, a half dozen other fire trucks, the State and local police and about 25 to 30 bikers, dressed in their "colors" holding American flags.
My jaw dropped.
The bikers are part of a very impressive group called "Warriors Watch Riders." What they do is, upon request, help welcome home American Military personel.
And it is beyond impressive.
Most of these riders are Vietnam and Cold War veterans who go out of their way to welcome home these men and women.They all approached Jim in the parking lot, shook his hand and welcomed him home.
Most of them have Harley Davidson motorcycles.
The parade route was maybe 8 miles long. The sight and sounds of the fire trucks, followed by 25 very cool sounding bikes,followed by news vans, followed by various cars like ours with more fire trucks bringing up the rear....very very cool.
Each intersection was blocked by local and State police.Pedestrians here and there waved and yelled.
The show was on....and it was very impressive.
Upon entering the street Jim lives on, the parade traveled under 2 big ladder fire trucks that had their ladders extended over the road, draped with an American flag.
If you didn't get goose bumps watching this, your just not alive.
Upon arriving at the house, the TV news cameras came out for interviews and the "Warriors Watch Riders" parked their bikes, mingling with everyone on the front lawn.
The leader of the Riders officially welcomed Jim home presenting him with a plaque and saying a few words. Many of the bikers again got a chance to shake Jims hand and whisper words in his ear. Words shared only between people who share a common experience, one I could never understand.
I can't begin to tell you how impressive these people, the Warriors Watch Riders, are.
What blows me away is this group is mostly made up of Vietnam Vets, and if you are over the age of 50, you remember the despicable treatment they received upon their return from fighting for our county.
Talk about turning a negative into a positive!
I'll let excerpts of their mission statement describe what they are about.
Many of us are bikers: we use our motorcycles to draw attention to our cause, which is our troops.
Many of us are veterans: We will support the mission of our uniformed brothers and sisters.
All of us are Americans: We will honor our nations warriors at home and support their families while they fight for us abroad.
Many of us are Vietnam Veterans: Never ever will we allow this generation of heros to be treated, when they come home, as we were treated when we came home. Never again will they be scorned or ignored.
Their mission and vision statement is on their web site, it's worth checking out.
Whatever your thoughts are of war, these guys should be honored.
The Warriors Watch Riders do just that.
It was a great day.
Jim and my daughter Bryn