Embracing freedom on the open road

Embracing freedom on the open road

Posted on January 09, 2014 by Linda Gould, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

If we learned anything from working with Thunder by the Bay during the Legacy of Valor, it's that veterans and motorcycles often go together. In its 16th year, the annual motorcycle festival is this year dedicated to all veterans, active duty military and their families. 

The biggest reason so many motorcycle riders are veterans seems to be, perhaps ironically, freedom. Embracing freedom on the open road is all about the freedom and control veterans feel when riding. 

As half of the 1 percent that serve this nation and put their lives on the line to protect our freedom, riding a motorcycle can be the epitome of freedom, few restrictions, and the ability to go where they want to go and live in the moment. The camaraderie of motorcycle riders provides a real sense of belonging and family as well.

While many veterans riding motorcycles and forming groups are Vietnam Veterans, it really includes people from all eras. We've seen this firsthand during the Legacy of Valor campaign as motorcycle groups like the Patriot Guard Riders and others escorted a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall into Sarasota during the Senior Friendship Centers Veterans Tribute Week. We'll see it again this Sunday as an honor  guard leads the Thunder by The Bay Legacy of Valor Ride out to Sarasota National Cemetery.

Not everyone that rides a motorcycle is a veteran, but every veteran who rides a motorcycle has voluntarily stepped forward  and agreed to stand for each one of us and lay down their life if necessary so that all of us can embrace freedom and live our lives freely, sometimes on the open road.  To get involved and honor veterans and their families, visit FreedomPassItOn.org.

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