Anyone seen 2013? We must have had a great time, because the year has passed by faster than a motorcycle going by a feed lot. The dedication and diligence of the American Legion Riders to demonstrate honor as veterans has been as consistent as the missions and rides, parades and events we rode in or to this year.
In the last year we have joined in and supported the ride missions and events of veterans from Milwaukee to Colorado, from Sturgis to Kansas. We supported local American Legion Riders and posts such as the parades in Millard and Council Bluffs with a decent number of Riders. We rode in unison with the Combat Vets, the Patriot Guard and we were well represented at all the veteran support missions we attended.
The Miguel Keith Dedication was so well done and well attended we felt motivated to do more. Our own Memorial Day KIA Run to three gravesites of heroes killed in action in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq raised a nice amount for the Legacy Scholarship Fund and was even attended by family members of one of the heroes. How gratifying it was to see the parents of KIA Mathew Alexander swell with love and pride to know their son is not forgotten by the veteran community. The KIA ride was even posted on the National ALR site. Our co-operative effort in the 2013 Flag Day Run and Auction made for one fine day of riding and a decent amount of donations going to the Legacy Fund.
Stops on the Flag Day Run were at other veterans clubs in a 100-mile circle with the Lincoln and Omaha Riders meeting in the middle at the Arlington, Neb., veterans club. The small veterans clubs and American Legions we stopped at really loved having our business and support. I know, because they actually invited us back.
The POW/MIA Remembrance Day Run in September held a surprise for us all when halfway through the run we were invited by the Valley Veterans Club to stop by and say hello to Mr. Allen, an ill veteran who had donated a restored 1951 Military Jeep to the Valley Club.
Mr. Allen’s curved driveway filled with the roar of big motorcycles and even bigger hearts. The applause we gave as Mr. Allen proudly watched from a wheelchair on his front porch meant more to him and his family standing next to him than money could ever buy at that trying time of his life.
Mr. Allen passed away six days later, and we in turn honored him with a flag line at his funeral as we have done for the father of Commander Berry and the many others this year.
For 2014 we have started to plan another KIA Run and would like to take the POW/MIA Remembrance Day Ride to new levels. For what we can’t plan, we stand ready to support veterans when and where we can. Congratulations to the 2014 ALR officers, we have a solid crew and it looks like a good year for doing some good things. Many thanks to our past ALR Commander Brian Mann.
He instilled confidence in many of us when we needed it and will be moving up the chain to help organize the ALR in our area as the Southeast Nebraska ALR liaison. Keep all veterans and motorcycles close to your heart and sound off if you have a good idea for the betterment of our American Legion that will include both.