By Jamison Hooks
Residents and visitors gathered at Madison’s Town Park for the Annual Memorial Day Ceremony and Ride for America.
The ceremony received a patriotic turnout including city and county officials, veterans and their families, and 991 motorcyclists.
For the 18th year Ride for America has partnered with Madison where motorcyclists ride from Loganville to Madison and back to Loganville to honor our veterans.
Speakers from the American Legion and other community officials took time to reflect on this important day.
“I say we honor Memorial Day. We should stop, pause, and take 24 hours to remember those who enable us to do things like barbecue, watch baseball games, and go swimming. Thank you and honor Memorial Day weekend,” said Carrie Peters-Reid of the Madison City Council.
Hundreds gathered at Town Park as the parade of motorcycles drove into town. A crowd wearing red, white, and blue waived American flags and welcomed the motorcyclists to Madison.
Stan Mauldin, Co-founder of Ride for America addressed the crowd and took a moment to thank those who helped make this event possible.
“I say thank you to my rowdy friends who rode in here… 991 strong,” stated Mauldin.
Mauldin also took a moment to share a story about his young granddaughter.
“My granddaughter asked why we have two flags at my house, one in the front and one in the back. I told her…because I can”.
Mauldin explained to her that he flies both flags to honor the sacrifice made by so many brave American heroes.
The crowd watched as members of each branch of the armed services were recognized and thanked for their service and bravery.
A moment of silence was held in remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom today.
County Commissioner and Army Veteran Donald Harris saluted veterans and thanked the many Veterans from Morgan County.
“Memorial day is a time to remind ourselves of the meaning of sacrifice. Many of us will never know the courage and sacrifice of those who lost a child, spouse, brother, sister or friend in war,” said Harris.
“As we honor their memories today their lives, sacrifice, and valor shall be justified and remembered as long as God gives life to this Nation,” continued Harris.
The continuing partnership between Madison and the American Legion has created a tradition that grows every year.
“The first time we did this we had 47 motorcycles and there are only two places that do this, Washington, D.C. and Madison, Ga,” Mauldin stated proudly.