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Honoring Gold Star Families

Motorcyclists carry the flame into town

      Local families who have lost a soldier are expecting visits from a dedicated band of motorcyclists, who will present them with a memorial plaque of distinguished service.

       American Legion Post 175 in Severna Park is hosting the 15 to 20 motorcyclists, arriving August 1 and visiting families August 2. Their mission is to remind those left behind that their fallen hero hasn’t been forgotten.

            “We visited the home of a fallen soldier in Jackson, Michigan, who was killed in action in 2003,” said Warren Williamson, executive director of Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Northwest. “He was the oldest of eight boys in his family and was killed after the 9/11 attacks. After his death, four of his brothers decided to serve their country. One is now back home; one is in his 14th year of service. Another served four years and is now working in the family business. The fourth brother is currently serving in Afghanistan.

            It takes a tremendous amount of courage to serve after a family member has been killed, but this family views it as the right thing to do, no matter the circumstances.”

            The motorcade — which began in Oregon in early July — is carrying the Fallen Soldier Memorial Flame. This weekend, they will escort the flame to Arlington National Cemetery and extinguish it there. On Sunday, they’ll close their journey by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

            Traveling through 17 states, the motorcade has honored 65 family members.

            The American Legion invites all to welcome the arriving riders. Commander Chris Jensen leads a ceremony paying respects to the motorcade at 4:30pm Friday, August 2, with an open house 5-7pm.

            American Legion: 835 Manhattan Beach Rd., ­Severna Park; 410-544-2066; www.legionpost175.org