Veterans ride to honor MIAs, POWs
Patriotic music filled the air Saturday as the brigade of 70 gleaming motorcycles, mostly Harley Davidsons, roared out Saturday from the Northampton Municipal Park on a covered bridge tour.
Many cyclists proudly displayed the American flag on the backs of their denim jackets.
The ride, sponsored by the Northampton Joint Veterans Association, took the bikers to the Manasses Guth, Wehr's, Rex's and Geiger's bridges, all located in Lehigh County.
The motorcyclists then rode to the recently renovated Northampton Veterans Memorial Park.
There a solemn ceremony was held in observance of National POW/MIA Day.
The borough's three veterans posts – American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Catholic Veterans of Foreign Wars – assembled in uniform as the MIA flag was flown at half mast.
The ceremony included a white linen covered table with a rose in a vase and an inverted glass, all reminders of the veteran missing in action.
A rifle salute pierced the early afternoon in remembrance of veterans who paid the ultimate price for freedom – their lives.
Gene Kutzler, attired in a kilt, played "Amazing Grace" on the bag pipes.
The bikers, many of whom had military backgrounds, stood at attention at the veterans memorial plaza, at 14th Street and Washington and Dewey avenues.
The American Legion Riders from the Hokendauqua and Catasauqua Legion posts were among the participants in the ride and at the ceremony.
Nathaniel Smith, a ranking officer in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Egypt, led the bikers on their journey.
Proceeds from the ride went to benefit the recent renovations of the veterans memorial grounds. This includes the memorial plaza, which includes hundreds of names of local veterans.
An official dedication of the improvements will be held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.