Celebrating Armed Forces Day with Freedom Ride 2016

A Harley Davidson bearing the American flag is parked at the start of Freedom Ride 2014, St. George, Utah, May 17, 2014 | Photo by Hollie Reina, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Saturday morning will be buzzing with hundreds of motorcycle riders from throughout Washington County and beyond as they band together as participants in Freedom Ride 2016.

Held in cooperation with Zion Harley Davidson and the Vietnam Veterans of America, Southern Utah Chapter 961, the annual ride will feature a motorcycle tour through scenic Washington County. The tour includes a stop at the Warbird Air Museum for the annual Wings and Wheels event honoring National Armed Forces Day, and a barbecue and celebration at Zion Harley Davidson, 2345 N. Coral Canyon Blvd. in Washington City.

Those without a bike are welcome to join in the tribute and fun at Zion Harley Davidson, Bruce Solomon, licensed clinical social worker with the Veterans Administration, said.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Vietnam Veterans of America, Southern Utah Chapter 961 Veteran’s Relief Fund, which is a fund set up for veterans in need of temporary relief associated with housing and other living costs.

“This year’s ride is spontaneous,” Solomon said.

The main purpose behind meeting at Zion Harley Davidson’s after the Wings and Wheels event at the Warbird Air Museum, Solomon said,  “is to ensure that this ride doesn’t get ‘lost’ next year.”

The group is looking for volunteers for the barbecue as well, he said, so anyone who can play an instrument, flip burgers, cook hot dogs, or those with great organizing skills are being asked to show up at 8 a.m. Saturday, just off Interstate 15 Exit 2 on the Southern Parkway.

“Uncle Sam needs you,” Solomon said.

About National Armed Forces Day

According to the Department of Defense, on Aug. 31, 1949, then Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day to replace the separate celebrations of the various branches of the armed forces.

This celebration coincided with the unification of all the armed forces under the Department of Defense and was officially proclaimed a holiday by President Harry S. Truman on Feb. 27, 1950.

The first combined celebration of the armed forces was held on May 20, 1950, and carried the theme of “teamed for defense.”

Event Details

  • What: 2016 Armed Forces Freedom Ride
  • When: Saturday, May 21 | Rally: 8 a.m. | Kickstands up: 9 a.m. | Ride end and barbecue: Noon to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Rally: Just off Interstate 15 Exit 2 Southern Parkway | Ride end: Zion Harley Davidson, 2345 N. Coral Canyon Blvd., Washington City
  • Additional information: All proceeds will benefit the Vietnam Veterans of America, Southern Utah Chapter 961 Veteran’s Relief Fund

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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