|Iowa Thunder started 45 years ago. I had no way of knowing it at the time but grandpas have an infinite wisdom and perhaps a premonition of things to come. When I was 9 years old my grandpa was asked to honor a man he had served with overseas by being a member of the color guard at the mans funeral. Who can guess at his reasons for asking me to accompany him, but he did and that day I got my first lesson in honor and respect.
It was but the first in the many lessons I would learn from my “hero”. It was also the first time I ever saw him cry. Never did ask him the reason or the depth of the bond between them and as I matured and did my own tour of duty. I found the answers to the unasked questions.
Time takes a flying leap and I am now a soldier far from home. No one will ever be able to answer the question of why some men perish and others survive. I fought that question through too many divorces and drug addictions without finding the answer, but it was out there, just waiting for me to be ready for it. In April of l984 my world was falling apart and coming together all at the same time. I was going thru another divorce and Iowa was building the Vietnam Vets Memorial. I was there while it was being built, I was there for the dedication and I have been there every year since.
In l989 I took a slight detour to Des Moines by way of Washington D.C. Another step in what was to become Iowa Thunder. While in D.C. I was invited to perform My Brothers Missing, a song I had written in 87. Its a long way from an 80 acre farm in Iowa to the reflecting Pool, but then it was also a long way to Dau Tieng, SVN.
The stage was set and the idea to have a motorcycle memorial ride to honor Iowa veterans was born. The rest is history. What started out as a one time deal has turned into an annual pilgrimage for those of who know the price of freedom. Each year as I step away from that concrete slab that supports that granite wall I leave a little more of my pain behind. I also leave a promise to the names on that wall to return the next year so that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.
For those of you who decide to ride with me this year and in the future look beside each of those officers controlling traffic at the intersections, look besides the people watching us as we pass, look on the grassy knolls and the rooftops, you can’t see them but our brothers and sisters are there standing watch, glad that we do not forget.
Iowa Thunder started in l990 but it was born 45 years ago. Why did I survive when others perished, Iowa Thunder. This is not a one man show, I did not start it by myself nor do I sustain it by myself. There are way too many people to list but some stand out, John Uchtman, Scribbles, Bear, Abe, Steve Layton, Rick and Linda Smith, PF and Reno, Mark Maxwell, Connie and Larry Slonaker, and each and every one of you who show up to ride with me each year.
At some point in time we will be adding an honor roll to the web site so let us know if you have a name you would like posted. Yes we started out as the Vietnam Vets memorial ride, we dropped that to a Veterans Memorial ride. We are not the only generation that has served when America called, let us not be the last.
May 18, 2003…..come along take a ride with me. RABBI
THEIR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN STONE AND SIGNED IN BLOOD!