This morning, we celebrated the fifteenth annual “Ride of the Patriots” at Patriot Harley Davidson in Fairfax City. I rode with the motorcylclists on their first leg to the Pentagon Parking Lot. They’ll be there most the day, before riding across Memorial Bridge and down Constitution Avenue.
The “Ride of the Patriots” is a tradition in Fairfax. The bikers start lining up at daybreak along Fairfax Boulevard (Route 50) and their ranks stretch for over a mile. The groups are from all over. I met a couple who had ridden from the State of Washington to be here.
Regardless, they are American bikers: brash, irreverent and entertaining. (My favorite helmet sticker read: “Don’t lean against this bike unless you are nude.”)
The pre-Ride parade, sponsored by Fairfax City, steps off from Captain Pell’s Crab House at 7:30 a.m. It’s the usual gaggle of elected officials, a few fire engines, the “Emerald Society” fife, drum and bag pipes, and the Fairfax High School band. We amble down the Boulevad to the dealership.
The ceremony at Patriot Harley is brief and to the point. Veterans are thanked. History is retold. The anthem is played. As Patriot owner Bob DeHaven pointed out in his remarks, riding a motorcycle is a great activity on Memorial Day because it’s all about freedom. It’s a great metaphor for being an American.
Then at 9 a.m., the call goes out: “Get on your bikes.” And thousands of engines throttle up and then they’re off …..