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Motorcyclists ride from Seaside to Ontario on Highway 26 to remember POW/MIAs

TOM BROWN/FOR THE PIONEER - When the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association rode through Madras in 2021, Jefferson County Fire District No.1 flew the American flag from a ladder truck for the procession to ride under as they left town.

The Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association will cross the state this weekend to honor prisoners of war and those missing in action. Four years ago, the Oregon Legislature designated Highway 26 as the POW-MIA Memorial Highway from border to border in Oregon. Central Oregon participants in the POW-MIA Highway 26 Memorial Run leave from Bend on Friday, June 24, and ride 250 miles to Seaside.

In Seaside, they'll join motorcyclists from around the state. Saturday the group will ride 200 miles to Madras.

Larry Moyer, president of the Central Oregon chapter, the High Desert Eagles, expects more than 50 motorcyclists will participate. "It's important to recognize the POW and MIA and the KIA because they're the ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we all enjoy," said Moyer. Moyer says Oregon has 34 POW or MIA, 33 military and one civilian. The group carry biographies of each, and reads one of the biographies at each stop, if possible a biography from someone who once lived in that location. One such stop will take place in Madras, Saturday, June 25. The OVMA will have dinner at 6 p.m. at the Erickson Aircraft Collection in north Madras. The salmon bake is open to all, free for veterans, $10 a plate for the general public. American Veterans Families sponsors the dinner. They're raising money to pay for Warm Springs veterans to travel to Washington, D.C., to see the new National Native American Veterans Memorial. On Sunday, the OVMA will travel 300 miles to Ontario, and Monday, they ride back to Bend.

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