Sounds of Harley’s shook the neighborhood at 2:30 a.m. Questions from a mind awakened and eyes still closed trying to sleep — Is this really necessary? What in the world is this church doing now? Do they ever sleep?
The Mission: ride to the Armory to see two war heroes off to Iraq! Several from our church riding motorcycles and arriving in a car stood in the parking lot awaiting the arrival of these two great people to say, THE CHURCH OF AMERICA THANKS YOU FOR SERVING! There were jokes of how crazy we were – how much we would have loved to get some sleep. Some of the combat veterans with us had a different attitude – some were joking to mask the memories — some were processing.
The two arrive, a young father and a young female soldier. The handshakes, hugs were shared. One combat veteran shared some advice on how to return safely. The instructions were given, motorcycles split in two groups, one group would ride in front, and the cars carrying the two soldiers would then get in line, followed by the remaining motorcycles. A prayer was given by the leader of Hard CORE Motorcycle Ministry, Keith Burd, for safety for the run and for the soldiers. With emergency lights flashing and the roar of the motorcycles we took off for the airport.
Arriving at the airport is always a blessing; the security allows us to ride to ‘our spot’ to park without any hesitation. They know about our mission and accommodate us all they can.
Once in the airport the soldiers and their family and friends are gathering around the 3’ x 10’ banner that simply states, ‘THE CHURCH OF AMERICA THANKS YOU FOR SERVING’. As the time approaches for them to board the plane there are more pictures, hugs, tears and then a final prayer by Pastor Gary Burd, a prayer of thanks for this great land we live in and for those who put their life in harms way for continued freedom and finally for the safe return of these great warriors.
Why was this one so different? Look at the pictures, a young father, kissing his small child over and over. A young lady, looks too young – way to young, what is it she is clutching as see enters the boarding area of the airport – a teddy bear. It was all we could do to fight the tears and keep a smile on our faces as we watched this sad scene.
May God bless our true HEROES — keep them safe and may the church be activated outside the four walls to express our deep appreciation for the sacrifice of so many. God help us remember the freedom we enjoy is not cheap and it is not guaranteed in the future. Please never take it for granted!