A few days ago I noticed my neighbor's red Plymouth Cruiser missing, only to reappear in colorful detail of red, white and blue (stay tuned for photo link when it goes public)...because it is the chase car for a 2500 mile bike ride...the Patriot Honor Ride. Traveling 15 states from Lubec, Maine to Key West, Florida, Gary will be biking...and stopping to fly flags representing heroes who gave their lives in service to our country. His hope is to raise scholarship money for their families, and to allow the public an opportunity to share their gratitude as representative flags are raised over historic spots in 15 states and ceremonially folded to continue the journey. Already there was a fund raiser at the local Chick-fil-A (where my kids work) where Gary and guests folded many, many flags...in honor of those who served us so we can be free. As Gary states on his website, "Freedom is not free."
|Memorial Day in Boston|
I am raising educational scholarship money for kids and spouses of fallen and severely wounded warriors. I stand with Folds of Honor, a wonderful non-profit, in their effort to leave no legacy on the battlefield. This site is intended for friends to watch, encourage, participate in my 2400 mi bike ride through 15 eastern states from Maine to Key West. On my 60 day journey, I wish to raise $60,000, completing my ride on my 60th Birthday on Oct 1. During my trip, my support team and I will carry 30 US flags with us. Each flag will be dedicated to a family of a fallen warrior. These flags will fly on as many flag poles as possible and will be folded with honor, over and over, by as many citizens we can meet along the way. These flags will be presented to the dedicated families along with a journal, archiving the entire journey. Join me, support me, get your friends to help. It's going to be an adventure.-Gary West, quote from his Patriot Honor Ride fb page
Gary, himself, is a retired USAF colonel, who has flown 130 combat missions. When my husband retired from the USAF, we moved from Texas to Virginia and immediately went house hunting. One of our concerns, of course, was finding the right neighborhood with great neighbors. The day we bought this house we walked outdoors after our home inspection. Some neighbors pulled up...incidentally in a red Plymouth Cruiser. That was a good sign. I'm totally into history and historical clothing and reenactments, so that car just seemed so right. Gary and his wife stepped out of the car to meet us. After the warm greeting, my family were in gratitude that *these* were our neighbors. My family and I have known them for 7 years. We have had great times. I can testify that Gary is an all around great guy! From all the things we've learned and experienced with him over the years, it only naturally follows that Gary would ride his bike 60 days to honor military heroes, culminating on his 60th birthday.
You can learn more about the heroes Gary will be honoring here. These heroes gave their lives in serving our country. Real people. Real stories. Photos of heroes. Photos of families. Notes from loved ones. Stories of dedication to country, but also to family. Easter egg hunts once attended. Love of learning. Babies once held. Sustained vertigo. PSD. Lou Gehrig's Disease. These are the stories from across these 15 states that represent our heroes to whom we owe much because they gave all.
Where will flags be flown? Fenway Park, Independence Hall, Massachusetts State House, Fort Knox, Maine, Fort McHenry, to name a few. Oh, and Gary told me that he'll also be at my favorite place...Colonial Williamsburg for a special flag ceremony at the Capitol with the Fife and Drum Corps!!! I'll definitely try to attend that! The day after that there will be flag ceremony at the Victory Monument in Yorktown!
The flags were generously donated by Annin Flag Makers.
Some of the first flag folds was at the Lincoln Memorial in the snow.
Details, including maps, of the trip are here. Gary's Patriot Honor Ride can be followed here on facebook and here on Twitter. The trip begins in August! Stay tuned! I won't be surprised that we'll all be watching some of the progress on the evening news!
Patriot Honor Ride is a great example of venerating heroes, which Eric Metaxas warmly details in his book, If You Can Keep It!