On July 23, and for the 14th time, motorcycles, cars, and even airplanes took an approximate 100-mile trek down Route 38 for the annual Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway of Valor “Tribute Ride”, which departed at 11 a.m. from Owego Free Academy.
Many of the motorcycles had flags displayed off of them, with one particular flag reading, “Bring them home now or send us back,” signifying the number of troops in Vietnam that are still unaccounted for to this day. The current number of unaccounted for Americans in Vietnam is 1,244, with 470 placed in a “non-recoverable” category.
The New York State Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway of Valor was dedicated on Veterans Day of 2009 by the New York state legislature in recognition of the service and sacrifices of those who served in the Vietnam War. The approximately 100-mile stretch of highway, also known as New York State Route 38, was specifically chosen because it runs through the center of the state and is near the memorials of two Medal of Honor and Purple Heart recipients, 2LT Terrence Graves of Groton, USMC; and SP4 Robert F. Stryker of Throop, U.S. Army.
It was a hot summer day for this year’s ride, with storms arriving later in the day. But the threat of rain didn’t stop the hundreds of participants that departed from Owego last Saturday, and with additional riders joining them along the way.
As the ride rolled through Berkshire, N.Y., where the Blueberry and Book Festival was in full swing that day, guests from that event took time out to line the streets and wave flags and welcome home the riders as they took their journey on this honorary highway.
Chapters 377, 480 and 704, along with Blue Knights Chapter 17, sponsored last Saturday’s Tribute Ride.
To view video from the ride, you can find The Owego Pennysaver on Facebook.