Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another Soldier Dies

We are all aware of the war in Iraq. Many of us have a favorite pastime, if you will, for supporting our soldiers. They do deserve it, after all.

As a biker, I discovered the
Patriot Guard Riders, whose mission it is to honor our soldiers and their families. Others who do not ride lend themselves to celebrating Veterans Day, or visiting Veterans Hospitals.

But this post is not about our revered military soldiers. It concerns the very real and important war here at home, in all states. A war many fight daily for our rights.

Do these 'soldiers' die at the hands of opposing military soldiers? Carrying guns and grenades? No. They die at the hands of thoughtless, distracted drivers; the soccer mom carpooling the neighborhood kids, the young man across town who is late to work, or the business man passing through who can't put his cell phone down.

What do these soldiers fight for?

They fight to keep us all riding free and riding safe. Some of them break the law to set a precedence so you and I don't have to wear a helmet, or can ride down a boulevard with aftermarket pipes. Some spend countless hours daily writing letters to legislative bodies, so you and I can continue to enjoy our motorcycles whenever we wish, wherever we want. Some quit their jobs to serve on a board of directors and devote their lives to the 'cause', so we can ride free. And some even write blogs about the issues at hand, in hopes you and others will listen and add your voices to the army.

Some of these soldiers are "snipers", adding their contributions anonymously because of their employment status. Still they fight.

Mostly though, these soldiers have lives, families and jobs, same as you and I, and still they devote their lives to our freedom to ride uninhibited by government bureaucracy. They are ordinary men and women, doing extraordinary tasks. For you. And for me.

Do we have a holiday to remember them by? No, but we should. Do they get a 21 gun salute at their funerals? No, but they should.

A large majority of riders cruise (no pun intended) through life thinking, "It'll never happen to me." And if they worry about rights, or dying at the hands of those who violate our rights, they just might have to acknowledge that their voices and actions are needed. But no, that might cut into their Football time, or the Scrapbook class. It's much too convenient to simply look the other way.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way. By that I mean, if you don't love riding your scooter enough to contribute even a small portion of your time to fight for the very freedom that allows you to ride, sell the bike, it's not for you, and go back to your chosen life.

There are very few valid excuses for not contributing to something that you directly benefit from. But aside from that, there is no excuse whatsoever not to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty.

Look up the different H.O.G. websites around the country and be sure to view the pages listing those who have crossed over while riding their motorcycles. Check out the MRO's and ABATE websites. They are all listed there.

If you ride a motorcycle enough miles, enough years, sooner or later you will personally know someone who has lost their life while riding. It is a tragic event, certainly. What loss of life isn't. But when you see that one of your soldiers has died in the line of duty, take the time, even if privately, to honor that person.

And the next time you feel the need to contribute to something good, ask what you can do to join the fight for freedom. Every little bit helps. And who knows, maybe someday our Freedom Fighting soldiers won't have to die for your right to ride free.

Thank you, Dan Hoffman, for all that you did for me. I didn't know you personally, but I know who you are. You're one of those people who selflessly spent a great deal of your own time fighting for my right to ride free.

Rest in peace, brother.

1 comment:

Shirley Vandever said...

Thanks for remembering our friend, Dan Hoffman.