Citizens of our nation enjoy many freedoms, but some take freedom for granted. Freedom is not an entitlement, but something that was purchased with the lives of men and women who fought for our country. The city of Attleboro, Mass., is one community that wants to make sure that the sacrifices made by those who served in the military are not forgotten. Last Saturday at Capron Park, about 100 people attended a POW/MIA 9-11 remembrance ceremony.
Our Christian Motorcyclists Association Romans 8 Riders chapter president, Spike, who has a heart for veterans, urged our chapter members to attend the ceremony. Anna and I first met up with Bob Levesque at a Dunkin' Donuts in Coventry, R.I., for the rush-hour highway ride to our staging area, the parking lot of Cardi's Furniture in South Attleboro. About 50 motorcycles converged at Cardi's. Riders consisted of various CMA chapters; military and veterans riding clubs; and unaffiliated riders.
There, Anna met a woman named Donna in her late 50s, who recently earned her motorcycle license. She bought a 250 cc motorcycle, but ended up returning it to the dealer a couple weeks later and buying a Yamaha V-Star 650 instead, which made Anna re-think her plan to buy a 250 cc bike for her first motorcycle.
Around dusk, our group hit the road for the short ride to Capron Park, where the ceremony had just begun. Rick, a member of my Romans 8 Riders chapter, had lent Anna a camcorder, but Anna and I caught by surprise when the crowd under the pavilion at the park stopped, turned around and applauded us as we rode up. In the parking lot was a 30-foot-by-50-foot black POW/MIA flag. An American Legion honor guard fired a rifle salute.
Besides remembering prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action, the ceremony also remembered citizens who lost their lives in the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
After a candle lighting, prayer and bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace," the ceremony broke up and it was dark. Spike and some other Romans 8 riders had planned to go out for a late dinner, but Anna and I were tired and hit the highway home, enjoying another kind of freedom - feeling our knees in the wind.