Motorcycle Ride Honors Fallen Service Members

Motorcycle Ride Honors Fallen Service Members

Motorcycle riders
Photo by: U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Wes Wright

Riders in the 12th annual Fallen Soldiers Memorial Torch Motorcycle Ride will travel 4,500 miles and stop in 17 states over 30 days as they honor America’s fallen service members. 

The cross-country ride began in Eugene, Oregon, on July 10 and will make its final stop at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Aug. 8, according to the Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Northwest website

The ride will close out with a bell ringing ceremony to commemorate the lives of the 75 service members honored during the journey. Riders also will extinguish the Fallen Soldiers Memorial Flame, which they are escorting from Eugene to Arlington National Cemetery, and they will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Northwest began in 2009 as a way to recognize the more than 120 fallen service members in Oregon, according to its website.

“It was our ambition to honor each and every one of these fallen service members to graciously acknowledge their service and sacrifice and to remind each Gold Star family their fallen service member wasn't forgotten,” the website says.

Along the ride, there will be 60 home visits to honor surviving family members of fallen soldiers. 

“As our ride procession makes its way across the country we make scheduled stops at the homes of these fallen heroes,” the website says. “At each home visit we make we present the surviving family members with our ‘Memorial Plaque of Distinguished Service’ to simply say thank you to each family member and to remind them their fallen service member has not been forgotten, and will never be forgotten.”

Between 2006 and April 2021, approximately 2,723 U.S. active-duty service members died in overseas contingency operations, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

On any given day of the ride, riders can expect to travel 200–275 miles, and the days run about 12 hours long, according to the website. 

The ride will bring together communities, said Howard Whittington, adjutant of Morris Frock American Legion Post 42 in Hagerstown, Maryland, in an interview with The Herald-Mail. Riders are scheduled to stop at the post in early August.

“We're honored and privileged to be a part of this great show of patriotism,” Whittington said. “We're excited about this, and we think it will be good for the community and all the families who have people serving and those who have served and maybe suffered a loss.”