By MELINDA WILLIAMS
The public is invited to bring a guest and join the Veterans Committee of United Auto Workers Local 2069 in honoring the nation’s fallen soldiers through their 22nd Annual UAW Veterans Ride for Freedom Memorial Ceremony and Run to the Wall.
The Saturday, May 25, ceremony begins at 8 a.m. on the front lawn of the union hall on Cougar Trail Road, across the road from the Volvo truck plant. Veterans from all eras will be present for the event, which includes a posting of the colors, live music, “Amazing Grace” played on the bagpipes, “Taps” and a 21-gun salute to “those who gave the greatest measure of sacrifice – their life – for the principles of Freedom, God and Country,” said Veterans Committee Chairman Mark Peterson.
He said the ceremony is just as important as the annual Ride for Freedom/Run to the Wall because “we get to share with the community our support for our military, our veterans, and most importantly pay homage and reverence for those who gave the supreme sacrifice.” He paraphrased a Bible verse, John 15:13, he feels epitomizes the American soldier: “No Greater love hath man than to lay down his life for a friend.”
The ceremony ends with hundreds of veterans and other citizens taking to their motorcycles and leaving for Washington, D.C. in the Ride for Freedom/Run to the Wall. “We’re proud to host 200 plus strong from the NRV and area states who will participate” in the 26th national POW-MIA Rally, Rolling Thunder, he said.
More than 700,000 Rolling Thunder participants gather at the country’s war memorials to pay their respects and remember those who gave their lives in military battles. “It’s an exciting weekend, but not one without honor, reverence and respect to those who laid down their life for the freedoms we all enjoy here in the greatest country in the world,” said Peterson.
“Over the many years, we have had the opportunity to share special memories and bring many of our citizens together to honor our American service men and women who gave their all. We, too, feel veterans are our greatest citizens and provide us the freedom to assemble” for the Memorial Day ceremony “as they provide all our freedoms,” he continued.
“We take great pride and we’re humbled to have another opportunity to share this wonderful morning with the NRV and hope (they) will also take the moment to experience the UAW Veterans Ride for Freedom Memorial Ceremony and Run to the Wall.”
The one-hour ceremony is held rain or shine. The Ride for Freedom/Run to the Wall departs the union hall at 9:30 a.m., following a brief organizational meeting.