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Motorcyclists escort Vietnam Memorial Wall replica to honor veterans

(upnorthlive.com photo)

MANISTEE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU)-- Hundreds of motorcyclists rode in honor of our Vietnam veterans on Friday.

It was the eighth annual Vietnam War Memorial Escort.

Richard Quinlan is a Vietnam war veteran. He says when he served, he was just doing what needed to be done.

"Somebody has to stand up for what America believes in, and at that time, we were the ones that had to stand up," said Quinlan.

Fred Nelson, also a Vietnam war veteran, now works with the group Rolling Thunder, an organization dedicated to helping veterans with events such as the wall escort.

"We distribute the money, it's a veteran organizations throughout northern Michigan from Grand Rapids all the way up to the UP," said Nelson.

Many of the riders were veterans, but several people came out to the escort just to say thank you.

"Even though you're not in the military anymore, you did serve your country, and you did sacrifice something," said Randy Bortz with Riding for Veterans. "That shouldn't be something that should be taken lightly. People should respect that and do what we can for them."

Bortz says while he's riding, he thinks about all those who have sacrificed themselves for us.

"You just think about that we have this freedom. To do this, other people overseas that are fighting for us right now and protecting this country."

Some say they think about each and every one of the names on that wall who paid the ultimate price.

"Why I came back and they didn't, I don't know, it's God's plan I guess."

Both Quilan and Nelson say days like the escort ride help them get past the tough moments that are part of fighting a war.

"I still have a hard time with it but I'm getting better," said Nelson.

"We have a lot of things to overcome, but to me, this is one sign of brotherhood comradery coming together to support," said Quinlan.

Rolling Thunder held a silent auction Saturday. They hoped to raise close to $12,000 for our veterans.

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