Close to 500 veterans spent this Memorial Day at a biker rally.
The 'Ride for Respect,' led by Patriot Guard Riders (who providie honorary escorts for deceased, brought home to Central New York),is part of Waterloo's Celebrate/Commemorate Memorial Day celebration. The rode to Ithaca, then looped through the Sampson Veteran's Memorial Cemetery in Romulus before returning to the Waterloo VFW, where members served them lunch.
It's the 6th year the Waterloo VFW has organized the event, says member Karen Lewis, who was overseeing the cooking and preps. This year they drew veterans and friends from Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo and parts of Pennsylvania, as well as from around Upstate New York.
Riders told us they were impressed by the cemetery, and happy to pay tribute to those fallen. And, many told us they were honored to recognize military contributions of their relatives, and to reflect on their own deployments and service. One woman vet told us it was a continuing honor to recognize all the vets, and the troops who continue to fight for our freedom.
As the riders came back to the Waterloo VFW, they saw the front of the Elisha Street building, a 'work in progress' by 22-year army veteran Jose' Caravallo, featuring tributes to all the service branches, as well as to soldiers fallen in the line of duty.
'When I left Vietnam at age 21, I had a dream of my life to do somehting for the veterans," he told us. "Nothing we can do for the ones six foot underground, but we can still be doin a lot for the ones still alive."