"here they come! One, two, three..."
Each year they come. They begin to arrive on Friday and will leave on Monday.
They come from all over the country; hundreds of them traveling hundreds of miles.
For this one weekend a year they leave their daily lives and become one of a whole.
They are from different ethic groups, socio economic classes, generations, backgrounds, experiences... And for one weekend they come together to demonstrate unity.
We count them as they roar by, alone or in groups, riding solo or as a couple sharing a seat, in leather or in jeans. We take note and welcome them to the area. Some give them no mind while others wave, cheer, or wave a small flag. They are welcomed guests.
The diva has decided that, when she is old enough, she wants to ride with the "guys." I won't be surprised if she does.
For us, these riders and their commemoration have come to represent Memorial day. I am not sure that it would be the same without them now that I have experienced their presence.
Despite degrees in political science and history; having a family who has spent generations involved with the military; my own support of the military and the US government, despite all of these things and my belief in freedom and democracy, I never really paid much attention to memorial day. For me, it was a day to play. It marked the end of school and the beginning of summer. Even now, living in such close proximity to memorials and monuments, the meaning of Memorial day is most powerfully represented, in my mind, by these motorcycles and their riders.
They roar into town by the hundreds. Riding from Virginia to DC, the ask us all to take a minute to remember those who have given their lives while serving their country. They ask us to remember, as they do, those who have fallen on foreign soil. They ask us to remember the meaning of Memorial day.