GROVE CITY, Ohio (WCMH) — For 13 years Tribute to the Fallen Soldiers has ridden across the country honoring fallen service members along the way.
On this year’s ride, they made a stop in Grove City honoring a fallen sergeant.
“Oh, oh last night’s ceremony was so, so emotional,” said Chairman of Veteran Affairs at Elk Lodge, Angelo Nocera. “I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place.”
From Eugene, Oregon to the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. the Memorial Torch Motorcycle Ride is making 68 stops in 18 different states on its journey, with the goal of making sure these service members, their families, and their sacrifices are not forgotten.
“It’s an important mission that allows us to meet families and to make sure that they know that they have not been forgotten and their grief no matter how much time has gone by,” said Executive Director Warren Williamson.
The organization presents the families with a plaque, a patch and hand painted portrait of their service member.
“The most moving part is when you pull up to a family’s home and they’re in their front yard, or on the door step waiting for us,” said Williamson. “The first thing you notice is, they have tears in their eyes that all these strangers came a great distance to meet them and honor their service member. And that in itself is touching and healing for us and for them.”
The riders are accompanied by an eternal flame that remains lit throughout their 30-day ride.
It is guarded at night and even withstands wind and rain encountered along their journey.
“It represents the spirit, the life and the service and sacrifice of all of our fallen service members,” said Williamson.
The riders stopped at the Elk Lodge in Grove City where they rested and were fed before continuing their journey. The Elks also kept guard of the flame while they slept.