About 20,000 people, including a large throng of bikers from the Ride to the Wall, rode through eleven stopovers throughout Britain ending at the National Memorial Arboretum to commemorate and pay respects to soldiers who fell in line of duty.
Spearheaded by bikers who belong to the Ride to the Wall organization, the recent event is, arguably, this year’s biggest event at the said Staffordshire memorial park. It can be remembered that the National Memorial Arboretum was opened by the Queen way back in 2007 in remembrance to over 16,000 men and women who died in service for the country since the Second World War.
According to the organization’s founder, Martin Dickinson, the members have bonded over their deep regard for the country’s men in uniform most especially those who have sacrificed their lives on duty. He added that the group doesn’t only stand and commemorate those who have fallen during WWII or those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also remember those who served and died during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, among all the other conflicts the public has slowly forgotten about but shouldn’t.
Many of the riders of Ride to the Wall are, like its founder, former soldiers. During their ride to the National Memorial Arboretum, they even wore the colors of the units they once served under. They’re on a personal mission to ride for their fellow servicemen who, now, do not have the ability to ride alongside with them anymore.
The Ride to the Wall organization also has civilian members. And its veteran members are very varied. There are soldiers, flight men and even retired Army officials. Among them is retired Major General Lamont Kirkland, who is considered the riding patron of the group.
Retired Maj. Gen. Kirkland recounted how Ride to the Wall started small — just a bunch of bike riders who came together and ride in respect for fallen comrades. However, year after year, they just grew in number.
It was NAM Managing Director Sarah Montgomery, who traced the history of Ride to the Wall to the reporter. According to her, the group was started by Martin Dickinson way back in 2008. He, along some 200 biker friends, rode to the Arboretum that year in a bid to raise money for the memorial. Form there, Ride to the Wall grew. As Sarah stated, they had an attendance of 20,000 bikers in last year’s event. This number was comprised of riders not just from all over the country but Europe as well.
The Ride to the Wall event culminated in a service of remembrance held at the National Memorial Arboretum. The bikers laid their wreaths and gave their salutes to the many soldiers who gave up their lives for the freedom and safety of all.