Now I wanna tell you a story about a run I’ll never forget.
The date was Sept. 23, 2001, twelve days after the air attacks against our country. The ride to benefit
The American Red Cross was put together in only eight days and was one of the most memorable runs I have ever been on.
Those who participated in the run came from all walks of life. Some of whom I associate with regularly
and some I choose not to associate with at all. Be that as it may, almost 2000 people came together that day for one reason
- to show their allegiance to America in it‘s time of trouble. The procession of bikes seemed almost endless. But what
struck me most was not that there were so many bikes, rather it was the way people along the route
who at first probably had no idea what was going on reacted to this overt display of patriotism. I was situated three quarters
of the way back and saw things that those in front probably did not see because those things were not occurring when they
I saw people in wheel chairs with flags trying to make it to the main road before everyone went past.
I saw small children saluting the flags that flew from the backs of countless motorcycles. I saw cars headed in the other
direction pulled over to the side of the road out of respect for the hundreds of symbols of our
national pride that passed. I even saw folks in vehicles stopped at traffic lights and stops signs for far longer than normal
and none showed the slightest bit of agitation. But what got to me the most was this one old man. He had to be in his mid
to late eighties, clutching a porch railing because he could hardly stand, wearing an old WW II
military hat and waiving a flag with every ounce of energy he could muster.
I sensed that this old man had a different idea as to what this ride should be all about. He wasn’t
seeing this as a bike ride in the sun to raise money. Because I believe he knew what the families of those who’d lost
loved ones in the terrible tragedies that occurred on 9-11-01 were feeling. This wasn’t a joy ride to him. He was reacting
to this as if it were a funeral procession. As I passed him things suddenly seemed to go in slow motion and my whole perception
of the ride changed because this fella was different. This frail old man wasn’t laughing and cheering as he waived his
flag. No sir, I could clearly see a look of anguish on his face and I saw that he was crying. I got
the impression that he knew what was in store. He had probably lived through it in the trenches of Europe or in the jungles
of the Pacific Theater more than half a century ago. That ancient soldier was crying for all those who have ever died and
for those who would soon be dying for freedom.
That old man wasn’t simply waiving his flag in support of our ride. He was furiously waiving
that flag to as if he was trying to get our attention and let us know that our lives would be forever changed because freedom
doesn’t come cheap. To me his flag became a warning. A warning that the protection of freedom isn’t a half hearted
effort. It’s a full time commitment that all Americans must be willing to make if we are ever to keep freedom alive
in our nation. We as a people must commit to this effort and support of military in it’s attempt to annihilate our enemies
wherever they are. But we can’t avenge our dead and show the rest of the world that we will NOT tolerate the slightest
desecration of American soil by dropping bombs out of one airplane and food out of another.
To me that ride in September of 2001 was more than the average benefit. To me it was a rally to show
that the motorcycle community was united in support of our country the way all Americans should be united in the protection
of the rights and liberties that our nation guarantees us. The freedom to come and go as we please. The right to say what
we think even if it differs from what the majority believes and the ability to live free from tyranny and oppression
not only from our own government but more importantly from a threat by other countries who with a retarded third world ideology
would try to impose their demented beliefs upon us.
Americans are entitled to the freedom to walk the land free from the fear of attack by those who hate
the fact the we as a people value and respect each other‘s right to be safe in our own land.
If we are to win the war on terrorism our military should use all its might and see to it that those
who would stand against us or who support the monsters who threaten to compromise the safety and security of our country regret
the day that they ever took sides against the greatest nation on earth. "Don’t Tread On Me." Anybody recall that motto?
I think that pretty much speaks for itself. It isn’t a request and it isn’t just a warning. That my friends is
an ultimatum that the rest of the world MUST learn to heed. It is my opinion that anyone found guilty of domestic terrorism
should be publicly executed to show their countrymen that we mean business. We are a nation at war and it is time for the
gloves to come off. Neither should we relax our feelings toward those nations who refused to help us in our hour of need.
Some of them are the same countries who begged us for help when their existance was threatened in WW II. Where were they when
when we needed them?
This month marks the third anniversary of the most horrendous attack on our nation and I hope no American
feels any less angry towards terrorism and those who foster it then he or she did in the days and weeks following Sept. 11,
2001. To let down our guard now would be a grave mistake because it is a well known fact that those who forget history are
doomed to repeat it.