Memorial Ride to Remember
The Vietnam Veterans memorial was finished and dedicated in 1984. I was living in Des Moines at the time so it became an almost daily routine to stop and commune with the Iowa veterans who fell during the Vietnam War. In 1989 I traveled to Washington D.C. to perform a song I had written titled 'My Brothers Missing' at the Lincoln Memorial on Memorial Day week end. During that time the national Rolling Thunder motorcycle tribute to Vietnam veterans was taking place. On returning to Iowa, plans were conceived and put in place to have a state Vietnam veterans memorial motorcycle parade. At the time, Vietnam veterans were still not being treated with the respect they deserved so we took it upon ourselves to honor those who had served in Southeast Asia. Several years into the event, due to the support of the public, mostly the biker community we dropped the Vietnam veterans motorcycle parade and just became 'Iowa Thunder' a motorcycle tribute to all veterans. The interim let us discard the stigma of social outcast that we had suffered since the war ended. In the new mission to honor all veterans, our mission statement became to insure the families of all veterans, that the service and sacrifice of their sons and daughters would not be forgotten by those who understand the price of the freedoms we enjoy. One of the core elements of the honor ceremony at the memorial garden in Des Moines has become the 'Spirit Bell' For each casualty of our current conflict for the preceding 12 month period, the bell is rang as the fallen's name is called out.
Read the full article in the June 4 edition of the News-Review.