By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor
Like many truckers with military ties, OOIDA Senior Member Lewie Pugh traded 18 wheels for a two-wheeler this weekend to attend Memorial Day observances in Washington, DC.
Lewie served in the Army, and his brother, JT Cramblett, is an Army National Guard vet who served in Iraq. They fired up their motorcycles first thing Friday morning to make the pilgrimage from Freeport, OH, to the nation’s capital. It’s a ritual and a family tradition.
“Well it is 2:30 a.m. I just came in from the garage. JT and I got our bikes all serviced and all the wind work done so we are ready to roll,” Lewie posted this morning on Facebook. “Well almost. I still have to pack. So we are right on our last minute schedule. HaHa! Time for a little nap now.”
And a little nap it was. By 5:30 a.m., they were hitting the road in their rain suits.
Other truckers and OOIDA members with similar rituals will be among the hundreds of thousands of veterans and supporters converging for services at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in DC this weekend.
Hundreds involved in Run For The Wall passed by OOIDA headquarters earlier in the week. OOIDA flies the POW/MIA flag with the Stars and Stripes.
Many making the trek belong to one of the 90 chapters of Rolling Thunder nationwide.
OOIDA Life Member Steve Davenport of Lewisville, TX, has made the pilgrimage 28 years in a row and is a Rolling Thunder member.
“I have participated at The Wall from the day it was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1982,” Davenport said recently. “This is my 29th year, and I’ve never missed. I don’t miss it.”
Davenport served in the Army from 1969 to 1971 and in the Reserves until 1975.
Trucking and service to the country go hand in hand. According to the OOIDA Foundation, 35 percent of OOIDA members have served in the military, and trucking continues to be a popular career choice for veterans and their families.
OOIDA Media Spokesperson Norita Taylor sums it up well.
“Throughout the year, even when there is not a national holiday, it’s always apparent that our members are the most patriotic people we know,” she said. “Many of them are veterans themselves or are related to veterans, so they are very much tuned into both the past and the present as far as the sacrifices made by those serving in our military.”
Memorial Day is a chance for all of us to pause and pay tribute to those who gave their lives in service to their country.
As Lewie Pugh said Friday morning: “While you’re enjoying your long weekend of picnics, going to the lake, parties, sales at the mall and whatever else you are doing to enjoy yourself, take time to remember what the real reason of this holiday weekend is about.”
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