Upcoming ‘Freedom Ride’ supports, honors veteransPublished 12:01pm Friday, September 7, 2012
An upcoming motorcycle ride will be 134 miles of patriotism, honor and support for veterans.locked
“We’ve been planning this event for about three or four months,” said event organizer Diane Sharpe. “We’ve invited every motorcycle club we could get in touch with to come on this ride.”
Sharpe came up with the idea for the Freedom Ride after her brother, Sgt. 1st class Mitchell, returned home from Afghanistan. She would ask him questions about his time of service and was shocked to see him crying.
“Things have happened there that we can’t imagine,” Sharpe said. “I felt like I needed to do something to let not just my brother, but all of them, know that we care.”
The motorcycle ride, set for Sept. 15, is no charge. The ride will begin at Walmart in Alexander City, and motorcyclists will follow a path up U.S. Highway 280 and along Alabama highways 21 North and 77 North through a pickup stop at Eagle Truck Stop. The route will continue through Pell City and Harpersville, back to Sylacauga and back to Alexander City.
“We’ve done a lot of work on this ride to make it a special day for veterans … something that will be memorable and honorable for them at the same time,” Sharpe said.
The motorcyclists will stop at the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home before continuing to the Sportplex for a ceremony after the ride, to which everyone – tiders and non-riders – is invited.
The ceremony will honor veterans, some of whom will be in attendance from the VA home; other military personnel and officials will be in attendance as well.
Sharpe said the Star Spangled Banner will be sung and band 7EVENZERO6 will play. The Cub Scouts will also make a presentation and Fire Truck BBQ will have a food booth set up with TVs showing the Alabama football game.
“Some have paid the ultimate price, and I hope that they are watching from above,” Sharpe said.