Veteran motorcyle riders honor POW/MIA
On Saturday, June 27, a group of 60 to 70 motorcycles will be passing through Madras as part of a two-day ride to dedicate Highway 26 as a POW/MIA memorial highway.
Cliff Brumels, who is a member of the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association, hopes people will come out with flags to support the riders.
They expect to arrive at the Plateau Travel Center between 5 and 5:30 p.m. From there, the Madras Police Department will escort them to the city plaza, where they will have a road sign ceremony before heading to Prineville for the night.
"The public's more than welcome to come," Brumels said. "We want to make this patriotic. We want to have the communities aware of what's happening."
IF YOU GO:
What: Oregon POW-MIA Memorial Highway 26 Ride
When: Between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 27
Where: From the Plateau Travel Plaza to the city plaza, then toward Prineville
To register or donate: http://ovma-state.com
Prineville is the final stop for the riders, who will start in Seaside. On Saturday, they will head to Ontario, ending with a parade and ceremony in the park, where the names of Oregon's 33 prisoners of war and missing in action troops will be read aloud.
"Back last September, Gov. Brown signed a bill in her office, and a bunch of us were there, to designate Highway 26 as a POW/MIA highway," Brumels said. "The purpose of it is we're riding for the ones that can't, but also for the ones that can."
A woman in Bend whose brother is missing is making placards with their names to lay out along the route.
The group will also have fundraisers to pay for the 12 signs along the highway. All but one has been paid for, so the group is asking for $900 to pay for the final one. All of them should be installed by the Oregon Department of Transportation by mid-September, Brumels said.
Other states are also dedicating the highway, and Brumels expects that the ride is the first of many, one that will eventually reach Washington, D.C.
For Brumels, this ride and others, including the Run to the Wall, which goes to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., are personal.
Brumels is a 20-year retired Army veteran himself.
He served 11 years in Germany and helped remove a Checkpoint Charlie from the Berlin Wall. He also did a tour in Desert Storm.
"Everybody has their own perspective and reference to how they want to recognize or feel about veterans," Brumels said. "Naturally, the Vietnam era, the public ... they didn't really get the due respect."
His father served in the Navy for two years, and his uncle served in Vietnam.
"My uncle, he was a POW and he was held captive for a while," Brumels said. He died a few years ago from Agent Orange.
Like many veterans, Brumels' uncle didn't talk about his experiences very much.
He encouraged people to talk to veterans, no matter when they served, and to thank them for their service.
The ride is part of that thanks, and though the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association is organizing it, any rider or driver who wants to follow can participate.
"We welcome anybody and everybody," he said.
Registration is required, and $30 online or $40 at the opening event in Seaside. Lunches and dinners are provided along the route.
For more information or to donate toward a sign, go to ovma-state.com.
NOTE: This story has been updated from a previous version, which had an incorrect date.
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