This last Saturday I had the honor and pleasure of riding with some of Oregon’s finest in rememberance of those that have lost their lives in service to the public of Oregon. While the ride was very pleasurable, the the underlying mood was very somber as we all knew the reason why we were there.
If you have never met a Blue Knight in person, they are members of the Law Enforcement community and they ride!
To be a member of the Blue Knights:
1. Be an active full or part time law enforcement officer with powers of arrest.
2. Be employed by a governmental agency and receive monetary compensation,
or be a retired or disabled former law enforcement officer.
3. Possess a valid license to operate a motorcycle.
4. Own a motorcycle or plan to purchase one within six months.
They have 586 chapters and almost 20,000 members in 28 countries.
Their ride in Oregon took us from Latus Harley-Davidson in Gladestone to Eagle Creek, Estacada, Mollala, Silverton, Silver Falls State Park and finally to the Oregon Police Academy. The route was wonderful because between each city is a set of wonderful roads with lots of twisties and beautiful scenery. We did not stop at Silver Falls, but if you do get a chance, it is a wonderful little hike to see the falls!
While I normally try to get ahead of the pack to take pictures along the route, the riders had different plans for me, somehow I was elected to lead a large group of bikes (probally since I had a GPS and a map holder,) so I was not able to get more than a 1/4 mile ahead of the group at any point.
When we arrived at the Oregon Police Academy run by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST.) I was amazed at the wonderful layout of the academy and the care in which the memorial was set againist the building. Later during the speech by the Director of the DPSST, we learned that so much thought was put into melding the memorial and the buildings together.
We could hear the music already started in the main courtyard of the main building. Smoke from the BBQ was already rising and we could smell the BBQ chicken calling to us. In the main building, there is also a memorial to 9/11 with actual parts of the World Trade Center with information about each piece. Check out the photos in the gallery for the pictures of the memorial.
After having a nice BBQ lunch we made our way back to the front of the academy for the memorial service. As you can see from the photos, the Blue Knight chapter presidents and the Director of the DPSST were present. The national anthem was sung by a wonderful voice as we all watched the American flag wave in the breeze. The Director spoke about the history of the memorial and what it meant to the academy. After the director spoke, the Oregon Blue Knights presented a special POW MIA flag and plaque that had made its way from Iraq to the Director of the DPSST. Then the presidents began the long list of fallen officers in Oregon. The feeling of the Blue Knights could be felt by those that attended, the presidents kept switching reading names in order to keep the pace of the long list of names.
After the memorial the group retired back to the BBQ area to draw the prizes. One of the great things that they had was a BBQ that was worth $1300. Talk about grand-daddies of BBQs this was it! One lucky guy won this BBQ and even got free delivery. They also had a nice little 50/50 drawing of almost 200 dollars and many prizes.
All said, over 165 bikes and over 200 bikers were present for the memorial run. Next year I would whole-heartedly recommend this ride to everyone to attend unless of course you have a warrant out for your arrest! For the $20 donation this ride was certainly worth it with the BBQ. Not to mention I got to know some of the Blue Knights out of their uniforms which is better than getting to know them from the back of a squad car!
Check out the photos at http://www.biker-events.com/biker-pics/