May 31

Dedicated to those who are still prisoners of war or are missing in action

This year, a new twist, a dedication to the Prisoners of War and the Missing in action. The table with the flag, the vase, the lemon, the place setting, and all are part of a ceremony to remember the POW and MIA. It was part of the dedication of the Freewheelers mc clubhouse.

The annual Memorial Day ride collects bikers from all the clubs who share a common passion for the United States of America. I feel honored to ride this annual ride with other patriots, with veterans and those who love these United States.  It’s an annual ride to honor those who have served and died.

For those who are combat vets from Vietnam and other military actions, this is a day of fellowship for them, a day of closeness.  Often during the day I saw evidence of a brotherhood, a bonding between vets.

Saluting at Taps

After the ride left The Shop in Bismarck, we rode out to Veterans Cemetery for the annual service.  There, patriotism and respect was thick, shared not only by an off-duty soldier but also the young man who stopped at every grave marker to salute the dead.  The young man was very careful not to step on the gravesite of any of the dead whom he saluted.  Through the entire ceremony he worked his way through the markers, stopping at each one.

A young man's salute

Flagpoles ring the center courtyard of the cemetery, and bikers manned their station to raise the flags to full mast, then lower them to half-mast to honor the war dead.  In the last two or three years, bikers have contributed time and money to honor those who are currently serving and those who have served in the past. It’s not a new thing, but it has become recognized as an essential part of military and veteran services.  So, they are invited to ceremonies such as this, and take an active role in the ceremony.

Meanwhile, families gather to remember those whom they love and have died.  Their private grief at is off to the side of the ceremony where they can enter in to their own memories.

I get very immersed in the story of the day, paying attention to the activities, but also the atmosphere of the  setting.  I hope these photos give you a sense of the deep gratitude which we share for those who have served in the military. Without them, we’d not be who we are.

Remembering alone

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