POW/MIA ride stops in Pelham

Published 4:53 pm Friday, September 28, 2018

PELHAM – An American Legion motorcycle ride in honor of prisoners of war and those missing in action passed through Pelham on Sept. 21 while en route to its final stop at the state capitol in Montgomery.

The riders, who came from Mobile Post 76, stopped at Harley Davidson for about an hour to rest before journeying on. For five years, Post 76 member Bill Kilde said the post has been riding from Mobile to Montgomery to promote recognition of POW/MIA.

Along the way, they stop at various posts to perform POW/MIA ceremonies where they raise the POW/MIA flag, say a prayer and then lower it.

The group bikes 1,300-1,400 miles every year. They stay in hotels overnight and resume their ride in the morning.

“The reason we do this is because we don’t want people to forget,” Kilde said. “They’re still finding soldiers and bringing them home, but we still have a lot of people missing. We have 30 Alabamians missing from Vietnam. These families still don’t have closure.”

During a ceremony at Harley Davidson, a POW/MIA wreath was presented to Post 555 and Kilde recited a poem.

“Education is the key,” said American Legion District Commander Barry Blount. “We don’t want our future to forget the sacrifices that our soldiers have made. It’s a respect that you have to give these men who had to endure torment, not knowing if tomorrow would be their last day.”