Today is the one year anniversary of the loss of 31 troops in a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan last August. There were Navy Seals on board, plus support crew, and even a military-trained dog, and all lost their lives as their helo was shot down by Taliban. It was the single largest loss of troops since the war began after 9/11.
This one was particularly personal. These were my kids' friends.
On Saturday, I attended a memorial motorcycle ride to honor the fallen heroes of August 6, 2011. There were at least a thousand motorcycles that took part in the 23 mile, police-escorted ride to the oceanfront. I didn't ride, but my husband and daughter did. I just loved being part of the crowd.
There were a number of Christian motorcycle clubs. Not your typical Sunday pew sitters.
The Vision Riders. Loved it.
This one specifically honors Kevin Houston, one of the fallen. The Navy Seal motto is "Long Live the Brotherhood", the words on the shirt.
This was another favorite. A Jewish motorcycle club called 'Guns and Moses"!
The fallen were honored by two members of the Boston Police Department Bagpipe Column. They were dressed in full regalia to play their bagpipes for the exit of the entire stream of riders. The Navy SEALs have forged a bond with first responders in NYC and in Boston. They have shared the burden of the losses of 9/11. These guys were pretty cool.
They played the entire time as the two mile long motorcycle caravan left. There are few things as stirring as listening to "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes. The 31 flags in the ground next to them represent the fallen.
The Navy color guard lined the exit of the shopping center. Before the ride began, they were washing naval officers'cars in the parking lot. Making good use of their time.
My daughter JoAnne and her friend Julie rode side by side the whole 23 miles.
Both of their husbands lost dear friends last year.
JoAnne rode with her dad. Look at the long line of motorcycles behind them. The police blocked every intersection for 23 miles so they could pass through. My husband loved being able to run the red lights with impunity for the first time in his life.
One of the last to leave, this patriotic woman was part of the color guard. She has the names of each of the fallen Navy SEALs attached to her vest.
Joe and JoAnne head out for the ride, with their buddies by their sides. It was such a memorable day, being there, watching the crowd. I was part of a grateful nation paying homage.
The proceeds from the event will help these families as they forge a new life without their beloved and heroic husbands and fathers.