Earlier this year, our own Jeff Palmiter was invited by one of his customers to join him in honoring local veterans at the NVAR (The National Veterans Awareness Ride) riding through Michigan City, Indiana.
We sat down with Jeff to learn more about this event, and what it meant to him to be in attendance.
Jeff, can you tell us a little more about how you ended up at this event?
I was scheduled to make a visit to Michigan City Paper Box when I got a call from their Maintenance Supervisor, Brian, who asked if I could visit early. He mentioned that some of the Michigan City Disabled American Veteran (DAV) members were going to be stationed at a local I-94 overpass with American flags to welcome the NVAR motorcycle riders coming driving through town from California. He asked if I'd like to join them.
Brian is a United Stated Marine veteran and is the current Commander of the local Michigan City, Indiana DAV Danny Bruce Chapter No. 23. Their Chapter enjoys supporting the National Veterans Awareness Ride, which is a part of the national “Run for the Wall” event. Thousands of motorcycle riders from all over the country ride to meet at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C over the Memorial Day weekend. Many of the riders are actual Vietnam veterans.
Q: what an amazing way to honor veterans. Can you Tell Us a Little more about the importance of this event for the Local Community?
I felt very extremely honored to be invited to this event. The NVAR riders were riding from Sacramento, CA and were making stops at various veteran’s homes, cemeteries, and memorials along the way.
They visited Michigan City to pay honor to Private First Class Daniel Bruce, a United States Marine from Michigan City that received the medal of honor and Purple Heart for his bravery in Vietnam. Bruce was awarded the medal of honor for catching a live enemy explosive that had been thrown at he and his comrades. He ran away from his position with the explosive held close to his body, killing him but saving his fellow Marines.
The NVAR riders visited the area to lay a wreath at the Danny Bruce memorial.
Q: That must have been very emotional to be a part of. How did it feel to spend time with these veterans?
I took part in the police escorted motorcade taking the riders to the memorial site. It was powerful to watch actual Vietnam veterans march and lay the wreath at the memorial. I was humbled to attend alongside them. Many of these men are well into their 70’s now. It was a great group of people. I was able to spend some more time with them later that day as well.
The following morning, all of the riders met at the Michigan City VFW. By that time, the number of riders more than tripled from the previous day. The group continues to grow as they get closer to Washington D.C.
I am so grateful that Brian invited me to join him at this event. It's certainly something I will never forget.
Q: I hear you have lots of photos from the event. Can you share some of those with us?
You know I do! Here are some photos and videos I was able to capture over the couple of days I spent in Michigan City.
Thank you to Jeff for sharing this experience with us.
A big thank you to Brian from Michigan City Paper Box, and the Michigan City DAV Danny Bruce Chapter No. 23 for allowing us to join in on this powerful and memorable event.
To learn more about the National Veterans Awareness Ride, click here.