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2003 Smoky Mountain Thunder Memorial Ride

On May 25, 2003 The Shiloh Riders pulled off another incredible Memorial Day Ride.

The day started for us with breakfast at Virgil's. Virgil was kind enough to open his restaurant for the bikers at 8:00 and his staff was courteous and friendly. G-2 breakfasters were the restaurant's first customers, Millie and her daughter, Linda, and Millie's co-rider and 8 year old granddaughter, Jessica. Shortly thereafter, arrived Gene and Betty, Clyde and Jo Ann and Sandy. Jeff and Jeanne followed a few minutes later. Around 9:00 Kim and Randy showed up. When we finished breakfast and went outside, we found that Jim and Barb, and Steve and Mamie were there. We had gotten our bikes parked together so we would ride in a group. We visted and shared stories until the ceremony began.

The ceremony started at 10:00 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. Next Kelly Stout of the Dixie Stampede sang our National Anthem. As always, Ron Giddis did a wonderful job as emcee and coordinator of this event. Mike Atkins brought "America", a bald eagle, and said a few words about the Eagle Foudation and what "America" stands for. The Guest Speaker was US Navy E-4 Jerry Cole, a former POW. Kelly Stout sang "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue". The wreath was placed by Rick Leone and several others whose names I did not get. Rusty Miller played Taps and last, but, not least, Barney Woody gave the Invocation, or in this case, the Benediction.

At 11:00 we left for Clinch Mtn. and Veteran's Overlook.

The ride was very well organized and timed. We had police escort all the way and it was an hour and a half of great riding weather, beautiful scenery and wonderful friends coming together to remember and honor our nation's military and the sacrifices they all made, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Arrival at the Overlook was orderly and efficient. There was a sea of chrome as the bikes were parked almost bumper to bumper so they could all fit in. A number of cars were also present having followed us from the starting point at the Sevierville Courthouse.

As always, click on the picture you wish to view in full size:

God Bless America, our Military, and our Leaders!