Bikers pay tribute to veterans, fallen heroes on ride to remember

Journey starts in Sacramento, finishes in Washington, D.C.
By: Tiffani Collins, Journal Correspondent
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That rumbling in the distance isn’t spring thunder – it’s the sound of scores of motorcycles revving their engines in anticipation of the 8th annual National Veterans Awareness Ride. It’s put on by the National Veterans Awareness Organization, but it is open to everyone. The ride starts in Sacramento and finishes in Washington, D.C. 
Fred Corcoran, an Auburn resident, Air Force veteran and member of the American Legion Riders, participated with 80 other riders out of Auburn and was one of the riders to “go all the way.” 
“When we get to Washington, one of the first things we do is lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery,” said Corcoran. “It’s an extreme honor to be one of the men selected to do this.”
Before the riders get to their final destination in Arlington, however, there are a number of stops along the way. During the 10-day odyssey, riders visit with the men and women who served in the military at veterans homes and hospitals across America. 
“We need to tell our veterans how much we appreciate their service to our country,” said Rick Dyer, state coordinator for the National Veteran Organization and Vietnam Army veteran.
Dyer started participating in the National Veteran Awareness Ride in 2010 when his friends told him what a great time they had on the ride. 
“It’s a very moving and fulfilling experience,” Dyer said. “It’s a real chance for a lot of our veterans to heal and a chance for others to thank our veterans for their service.” 
Tom Mason, a member of the American Legion Riders and retired Air Force, agreed. 
“We need to remember our dead and that’s why we do these rides,” Mason said. “Those of us who’ve been in war need to remember the friends that we’ve lost.”
Mason began to participate in the National Veteran Awareness Ride in 2010 in honor of Air Force veteran Charles F. Nixford, who served in the Air Force during World War II.
“It’s also a great ride,” adds Corcoran. “Everyone is so happy to see us. The patriotism we experienced as we watched people come out of their homes to wave flags as we drove by was really something to see.”
The National Veterans Awareness Ride begins at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 15 at the Auburn Veterans Hall, 100 East St., Auburn. 
For more information about the ride, go to