Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant rode along with members of the Northwest Florida Hog Chapter and the Mississippi Coast Hog Chapter. (Photo source: WLOX)
The Flag Tour started Memorial Day weekend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It will end there during the Labor Day holiday. (Photo source: WLOX)
"There's many people, many bike riders that are previous veterans and we're just so proud and happy to do this," said Steve Carrington. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -
An American flag that is traveling across the country flew over the skies of Gulfport Thursday. The banner arrived at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, escorted by dozens of motorcycle riders. They came to take part in a patriotic tribute.
The roar of engines signaled their arrival. Nearly 100-Harleys rolled into the Armed Forces Retirement Home. They were greeted with cheers, waves, and salutes.
"Glad to have you aboard," one veteran told the Harley owners.
The riders carried an American flag that is on a "Nation of Patriots Flag Tour."
"I bestow you the great symbol of freedom, the flag of the United States of America, to you rider for honor, for country and for all members of our military," a rider said as the ceremony started.
The flag is stopping in 48-states in 100-days. The Flag Transfer Ceremony symbolized the day the banner flew over the skies of Mississippi.
"What a better place to honor than all the veterans that have walked before us and led the path for us to follow," said Steve Carrington, who helped organize the ride.
"It just made me so proud that they came to see us," said Vietnam Veteran Jack Hicks.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant rode along with members of the Northwest Florida Hog Chapter and the Mississippi Coast Hog Chapter. He choked up as he explained why he likes to ride.
"I believe riding with me are those young men that never returned. They were there, enjoying the breeze, beautiful ocean, smiling because they know we honor them," said Bryant.
"I would love to go for a ride," said Marion Wolke.
The 91-year-old woman used to ride with her husband many years ago.
"Oh, it's wonderful! It brought back so many memories. I really enjoyed it," said Wolke, who served as a WWII Lady Wave.
The tour continues Friday. The riders will deliver the flag to its next destination, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
"It's wonderful. It's all of our hearts. There's many people, many bike riders that are previous veterans and we're just so proud and happy to do this," said Carrington. "This is the sixth year that the flag has toured the nation, the second time we've done it here, and we love it."
"It's just a feeling of support, of honor. It's hard to describe it," said Wolke. "They made sure they honored the flag and not themselves, so it was good."
The Flag Tour started Memorial Day weekend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It will end there during the Labor Day holiday.