I grew up spending my summer at the Jersey shore in a town called Belmar. I had many great memories there and still get sentimental about those days of my youth. One memory I had was when I was 8 years old, sound asleep and suddenly awakened by what I thought was an earthquake, accompanied by the loudest noise I’ve ever heard.
As I ran to the window, I realized it wasn’t an earthquake but the rolling thunder of countless motorcycles — mostly Harley Davidson’s, that had just rolled up to the house. My uncles were bikers and they were coming back from a ride to hang out at my house. It was at that moment that I realized that the sound of a Harley Davidson was the most beautiful sound I ever heard and I began to count the days until I could ride.
At 14 I started riding in fulfillment of a dream.
The Rolling Thunder Bike Rally takes place every year in Washington D.C. where almost 900,000 bikers converge on our nation’s capital in remembrance of our brave soldiers who are missing in action, prisoners of war and those men and women who have given their lives fighting for our freedom. It has been considered by bikers to be the most emotional and meaningful event of the year.
It has been my dream to ride in that rally, not only because I love to ride but it would be an honor to ride in remembrance of our bravest heroes. Unfortunately, that dream has yet to come true for me.
In a year in which I’ve been critical of the economy, our government and central bank, as well as governments around the world, when unemployment is high, markets are volatile and it seems like the world is falling into chaos, it’s been difficult for me to find inspiration, to say the least. I was reading about this week’s Rolling Thunder Rally, as well as the many other motorcycle rallies around the country that honor our fallen heroes on this Memorial Day that I found my inspiration.
It is the one thing these brave men and women fought and died for … freedom. The most remarkable quality of freedom is that it encompasses so many aspects of our lives and we, regrettably, sometimes take our freedom for granted, until we could unfortunately lose it.
One of the most important elements of freedom but especially lately the least talked about, is economic freedom. I have been critical of our central bank, our government and governments around the world because many of the policies they are initiating will undermine our individual freedom and the freedom of our children.
It’s this same freedom that men and women died for that is worth fighting for because without it we have nothing. Although having a strong government is important to our nation’s future, it’s imperative to remember that true individual freedom has never meant handing our personal freedom to self motivated bureaucrats, with little regard for individual freedom.
Our fallen heroes did not die fighting for our government; they died fighting for our individual freedom. I will continue to be critical of government policies and politicians who trample on our individual rights and jeopardize our economic freedom by paralyzing success.
Last year I experienced a physical condition which made it difficult and sometimes impossible to turn my head to the right and only through an intense effort could I just barely see out of my right eye. I’ve been to several doctors and have spent countless hours trying to be normal; needless to say it’s been a frustrating year for me.
I value my family more than anything in the world and in discussion with my wife, we came to the decision that riding my Harley Davidson in this condition was not a good idea. I have three incredible children and although I love riding, I’m not willing to risk my life on my bike with this condition. I can honestly say that giving up riding has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life. In many ways I’ve felt like my childhood dream has died.
I would imagine that many people have become discouraged recently, many feeling as if their childhood dreams of freedom and prosperity have died because of the current economic condition of our country. Although our government tells us repeatedly that the economy has improved, for those millions still unemployed, it’s difficult to believe.
It’s at these times that we must remember those fallen heroes who fought and died for our freedom and never give up. We must always remember that we live in the best country in the world, a country of fighters, a country in which we can rightly claim is “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
I haven’t given up on my dream of riding in the “Rolling Thunder Rally” to honor our heroes. In the countless hours of painful physical therapy, I never stop thinking of my dreams and I will never quit.
I thank God for those men and women who didn’t quit on this country and gave everything to insure our future for generations to come. I believe that someday I and the U.S. will ride again.