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Riding with Respect, Riding for Freedom

A couple Saturdays ago, I was happily cruising down the interstate (fortunately I was ahead of schedule) when two speedy cops cut off the car in front of me, stopped beneath the immediate bridge, and—while making my heart kick into high gear—stilled all south-bound traffic.

That’s when they came. Motorcycle after motorcycle, making a loud and powerful statement as their procession accelerated down the entrance ramp and took the road.


6th Annual FreedomRide | Armed Forces Day – May 16, 2015 | Photo courtesy W.A.R.


It was an impressive sight.

Once all 85* of them were on I-35, we (me and the other cars) were allowed to resume driving, and we followed them for miles. I could feel the reverence, thick in the air above us and drafting these police-escorted bikers.

I could only assume it was a benefit ride, or maybe the Patriot Guard Riders.

Later, my first attempts to find details, some cause for this occurrence, returned nothing. But then I hit on the right search terms and found a Facebook page for the Kansas City-based Warrior Appreciation Rally, the ride’s sponsoring group.

I learned that (because it was Armed Forces Day) I’d witnessed the 6th Annual Missouri National Armed Forces FreedomRide. Their site references the event as “the day we honor, show support, and raise awareness for those who have served.”

The ride begins at a Harley-Davidson in KC North and, with law enforcement escorts the entire way, travels dozens of miles to an area veterans’ home, where they spend hours visiting and honoring those who have done so much, before “saddling up” once again and making the return journey. (The photo above is from early in their trip that day.)

I found myself appreciative of their appearance, and fully in sync as my journey for just a time overlapped theirs.

Soon enough my exit came and I broke away from the pack.

They kept on riding. Because it’s what they do, and for good reason.

Have you seen anything like that before?

*This number was confirmed by a Warrior Appreciation Rally source. I was told they’d have had more if the weather had been more cooperative. Their Facebook page admin said, when I asked for his or her name during our messaging exchange, “We usually refer to ourselves [only] as W.A.R., or the W.A.R. Crew, preferring to keep the spotlight on what we’re doing to honor others and generate attention for the organizations that help our men and women in uniform.”

That, too, is for good reason.

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