Tom Bruno had a question. How do you show your appreciation for our troops who are overseas without making any kind of political statement?
Bruno, who is director of the East Tennessee/Knoxville Chapter of the Harley Owners Group, and assistant director Sandy Leonard answered that question by going to the folks they knew would understand and help make a show of support memorable: bikers.
Leonard wanted to form a motorcycle ride that was free to all riders on any kind of bike to show appreciation for the sacrifice our troops make everyday. By starting at the Fed-X parking lot in Alcoa, the bikers formed a parade route that traveled to Knoxville by way of Clinton Highway, down Merchants Drive and ended with a ceremony at Quaker Steak and Lube restaurant in Powell.
The parade route would not have been possible without the help of the Alcoa, Maryville and Knoxville police departments, said organizers. The Knoxville Fire Department brought out a flag to fly over the riders as they entered the Quaker Steak parking lot.
Restaurant manager Jeff Edmiston has family who served in Iraq with the 278th, so he was eager to help. Barney Fife (Sammy Sawyer) showed up to help keep the peace. Pastor Leonard Turner opened the ride with a prayer.
The parade and ceremony was video-tapped and organizers are hoping to get copies of the video/digital tape to send to those fighting overseas.
Assistant Director Jean McGowan thanked all the bikers, guest speakers and HOG volunteers.