By Alicia Neaves
MIDLAND - The hail Monday morning didn't stop the 16th Annual Ride to Remember event. Hundreds of bikers and onlookers gathered together to honor our fallen heroes.
Flags were at half-staff to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our country.
Family, friends and strangers to the fallen gathered at the Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans Memorial to pay their respects before riding off to Andrews.
"We've got our motorcycles, we've got our jobs, we got our freedom all because of these guys. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't be here," said participant Faron Gryder.
Hail greeted the early birds at Monday morning's Ride to Remember but that didn't stop hundreds from joining the procession from Midland to Andrews.
In the wake of the violence in Waco, participants reiterated that not all bikers have bad intentions. In fact, all bikers in Monday's ride are all a part of a special brotherhood.
"This is a brotherhood of Americans. This is what this is. This is what we're here for. We're not here to fight, we're not here to argue. We're here to honor the people that got us here," said Gryder.
Most make it a tradition to ride north on Memorial Day.
"Junior Essary, he's a dear friend. An older gentleman than myself. He's buried in Pyote. I make sure that his gravesite is always kept clean, a fresh flag on it and I stop by and visit him to say 'hi' once in a while," said participant Victor Guthrie.
Others were bystanders praying, singing or simply saluting to honor the fallen.
"My father-in-law passed away eight years ago and they had a tape recorder with Taps, and I told my wife, I said, 'That will never happen again if I can help it'. That's when I went and bought a uniform and bugled at about 150 plus services now," said Taps player, Mike Tarpley.
While this might be a holiday for many of us, participants want to remind the public of the true, somber meaning, behind Memorial Day.