Perspective piece courtesy AMVETS Past National Riders President and Navy veteran ('80 - '85) Rob Quick.
When I was AMVETS' National Riders President, several riders reached out to me with hopes of creating a ride centered around everything the organization stood for. "We need a ride that brands us," they said. "We need something from a rider's perspective that communicates to the American public what AMVETS is all about."
When news traveled to the rider's community that a D.C.-focused, pro-veteran demonstration ride would continue, I knew that time had come.
Over the last few months many of us have worked diligently on Rolling to Remember. Our leadership in the AMVETS Riders have come together to work on different project and coordinate with clubs and enthusiasts looking to make the trip to Washington D.C. Memorial Day weekend. During this time, I've been able to reflect on the main point I'd like to see everyone who participates in this three-day demonstration understand, which is that everyone has a role to play in this, whether large or small.
During my time in the Navy, I served as an engineer aboard a Oliver Hazard petty-class frigate. It was a substantial role; I was in charge of some very expensive equipment, oversaw several sailors, and I understood that I played an important part on the ship. Very quickly, however, I began to realize that important part for what it was: a role. A part of something that was much larger than simply my fellow sailors and myself. The frigate that we operated was a part of a destroyer squadron, that destroyer squadron a part of a battle group, that battle group part of a fleet. No matter how small, how diminutive-feeling that role we played was, without us there was an incomplete fleet.
Every rider, volunteer, donator, park service officer, first responder, and Rolling to Remember staffer has a role to play come that weekend. Missing just one factor mentioned prior means running the risk of not delivering the full effect of our mission to Congress and the American public, which is POW/MIA awareness and the national veteran suicide crisis.
Everyone holding a leadership role within the AMVETS Riders wears a small patch on their vest with an acronym embroidered on it: LRB. Those letters stand for leadership, respect, and brotherhood, and they apply directly to the mission we taking on in May. We're demanding leadership from our elected officials when it comes to our combined failings to save fellow veterans, allowing them to become another statistic to the suicide epidemic. Respecting our POW/MIAs by making the American public aware that there are still more than 80,000 missing in action scattered across the world and that due to continued conflicts in the middle east today our service members are not immune to becoming prisoners of war tomorrow. Through brotherhood, we will use Rolling to Remember to stand side by side, brothers and sisters, and voice these concerns in our nations Capital.
Throughout Missouri I've heard nothing short of pure excitement about this ride. Our riders are finalizing preparations to make the trip to D.C. this Memorial Day weekend. Join us.
We'll see you in May. LRB.