By New York Myke,
Owner- San Diego Harley-Davidson
My ride to Washington, DC was as inspiring as it was troubling. The controversy that was building around Independence Day, July 4th, was troubling as well. So I was glad to get a call from Steve Crouch a few weeks after we got back, informing me of a San Diego area July 4th ride being planned by the Patriot Guard Riders! I wanted to do something to celebrate Independence Day and because of the Coronavirus we had to cancel our Red, White & Barbecue event at San Diego Harley!
The Patriot Guard Riders are awesome! I first rode with them on the ride to honor and guard the funeral of Ken Necochea Jr. in December of 2010. Ken was a local San Diegan who was killed in action serving our country with the 101st Airborne in Afghanistan. I’ve been on other PGR honor rides since then, and I know these riders are patriotic to their core; and not all honor rides are the same. Sometimes they honor and guard the funerals of older veterans, but it’s always an honor to ride with them and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate America’s Birthday.
I met Steve at a Shell station in Del Mar and followed him to the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park where we were staging. It was a little after 8:00 in the morning and there was already a large crowd of around 100 bikes, some cool cars and a truck with cool lighted up flags and stuff on its side panels. Everyone was friendly, as always. There was music, a few brief speeches (I didn’t speak or we might still be there!), then there was the ride captain’s safety meeting, We left pretty much right on time at 9:00 am. The first stop was the National Veterans Memorial at Mt. Soledad, so I decided to ride ahead to get a few pictures as they rode in.
Mt. Soledad is a special place for many reasons; the most obvious is the Cross itself. But its history as a Veterans Memorial, dedicated in 1954 to those who gave their lives in the Korean War, is also an important part of San Diego. A lawsuit to remove it was won in 1989 and a fierce battle continued for years. The Memorial was rededicated to all of our nation’s warriors, and plaques honoring individuals were put up and displayed. Against all odds, the ACLU, millions of dollars and government complicity (several 5-4 votes by the San Diego City Council to remove it), it was finally established as a permanent Memorial!
To me this miracle after so many defeats and all the odds against it is the biggest factor of all and always gives me inspiration! Seeing the PG Riders roll in on this July 4th was a reaffirmation for me that America will not forget its history or its heroes. We all gathered around the base of the Cross; reading the names on the plagues, we listened to a few brief speeches and then two buglers played taps. I was thrilled to be part of this tribute, this Birthday Present to America! The ride continued up the coast to Oceanside where there were a few more speeches.
I went back to work, appreciative of the Patriot Guard Riders and all the sacrifices and miracles that allow us to live in the greatest nation ever, the United States of America!
Learn more about the Patriot Guard Riders and the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial: it will be rewarding and time well spent!
–Visit www.QuickThrottle.com to see more photos.