More than 250 Fire Hogs, friends and local riders gathered in tribute to honor the 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots who were tragically lost during last year’s wildfire. This event was the creation of Fire Hog Bullhead Mike who put together the memorial on Saturday, April 27, 2014, during the annual Laughlin River Run. And what an event Bullhead Mike put on! He really pulled out all the stops to honor these fallen comrades.
Mike thought the only fitting place for such an honor would be the Arizona Veterans Memorial Park, an island on the Colorado River in Bullhead City traditionally honoring only veterans. When he presented his idea to the American Legion and local dignitaries who oversee this memorial, they agreed and his idea blossomed.
First he had a 4’ x 3’ x 1’ thick granite plaque laser etched with all the Hotshot names and a fitting tribute made in their honor. He then had the local firefighters and cadets fix up and cleanup the island. In preparation for the ceremony he invited all the local dignitaries, firefighters and motorcyclists to participate in the memorial service and the unveiling of the memorial plague. What a touching event as we walked along the Trail of Memories to pay homage to these fallen firefighters as they take their place along the veterans of Arizona lost in wars.
After the ceremony, Loretta, the owner of Lazy Harry’s Sunshine Saloon opened up her doors and donated a portion of the profits to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation. Our own Fire Hog House Band, “Slightly Confused,” with Fire Hog Jimmy Parks, played through the evening as we danced and had other “old school” fund raising contests at Lazy Harry’s.
To give you a little background on the Arizona Veterans Memorial Park – It is a beautiful riverfront park in Bullhead City, dedicated in the memory of more than 3,000 military men and women from the State of Arizona who were killed during wars and armed conflicts over the past 100 years. The largest portion of the memorial overlooks the Colorado River and contains a line of giant flagpoles paralleling a curved wall standing nine feet high and 40 feet wide. Displayed here are bronze plaques engraved with the names of each of the service men and women who died defending our nation. On each side of the memorial wall are giant bronze eagles surrounded by 50 stars representing the 50 states. The Arizona Veterans Memorial Park also contains a pyramid-shaped stone memorial honoring the U.S.S. Arizona, which was destroyed in the attack on Pearl Harbor that marked America’s entry into World War II.
This park now boasts along the Trail of Memorials a fitting memorial to the Granite Mountain Hot Shots.
It’s a great 4-days of fun, which I only had the room to write about Saturday. This is now an annual event that the Fire Hogs will be organizing each year for all during the Laughlin River Run, so come on out!
There are many more rides coming up! You don’t have to be a Fire Hog to participate. All you need is a willingness to have fun! Come on out to see what this is all about. Events are posted on our website www.firehogs.org.
Apply for an account to get e-mailed notifications of upcoming rides. Members wishing to join the Fire Hogs can contact any of the board member from our website.
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Remember, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey that brings us together!
By the Prez