~A journey through the decades~

Published: Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 12:36 PM.

Luckily he still had all of his original paperwork and we were able to piece together his military service record.  So last year the United States Army sent me a letter stating that they would indeed be awarding my Dad the World War II Victory Medal and the Honorable Service Lapel button World War II.  But at that moment there was a……..you guessed it…..shortage. 

It would take eight months before the medal arrived at my house and I will admit that I had to wipe the tears away as I held it in my hands for the first time.  After 64 years the United States Army had awarded my Dad his World War II medal.  Then I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with it.  I didn’t want to just drive down to his house and say “Here it is”. 

I wanted a parade!  Yep, I wanted a parade for my Dad, with flags and noise and Veterans and singing and food.  It sounds crazy now as I write this all down but I just thought he deserved something special.  After getting in touch with a couple of Veterans I ended up speaking to Jim Moore (one of my “crazy” classmates from high school and I say that with love). 

Jim is involved with a group called Warrior’s Watch Riders.  All I really knew about them is that they ride motorcycles and honor Veterans by providing “Welcome Home” parades as well as “Standing Guard” during funeral services.  So I checked them out on the internet and was so pleased with what I found.  Here is an excerpt from their mission statement:  “The Warrior’s Watch Riders envision a day when every member of the United States Armed Forces, at home & abroad and their families feel appreciated, honored, respected and loved by the citizens they risk their lives to protect…” 

I also learned that these people are all volunteers and do NOT accept donations.  They do NOT charge for their services because it is their belief that “Your servicemen and service women have already paid the price”   

With my Dad’s medal now in hand, Jim and I set up to surprise him on his 84th birthday.  On Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, with his family all gathered around his house, my dad looked out the window because he could hear rumbling coming from across the canal and on U.S. Highway 98. 

“Sounds like motorcycles” his great- granddaughter Kenzie Barber stated.  Other family members replied that “something” was going on.  My Dad walked out into the driveway just as the Mexico Beach Police car’s siren let out a blast.  He looked  down the road and what he saw was 45 motorcycles, a blue stars & stripes lead car, two police cars, several parade cars and……….countless American and P.O.W. flags blowing in the wind. The showpiece in the group was a 1942 Harley Davidson motorcycle, also a veteran from World War II. 

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