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America Supports You: 'Tribute to the Troops' Scheduled for 9/11

By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2005 – The second annual "Tribute to the Troops" motorcycle ride is scheduled to roll through the American heartland over the Sept. 11 weekend.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Universal South recording artist Rockie Lynne, a Minneapolis resident and former Army paratrooper, will headline a concert in Minneapolis at the end of the "Tribute to the Troops" motorcycle ride in September.
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The tribute ride, which will include several hundred bikers, is a means to honor servicemembers who gave their lives for freedom and to raise money for local Minnesota and Wisconsin military families who lost loved ones in recent military engagements. The bikers will visit the homes of many these families to pay their respects.

The event will conclude with a benefit concert headlined by Universal South recording artist Rockie Lynne, a Minneapolis resident and former paratrooper with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

"We may not personally know the pain of losing a family member in this war, but we want to do something to say a sincere thank you to those who are feeling that loss." Lynne said. "We are visiting each individual family to acknowledge that their loved one was important to us."

Event organizer Gregg Schmitt added that "through these efforts we convey our gratefulness and appreciation to all those who have served."

Last year's ride was an emotional event for many of those who participated. "If you were there, you can understand what a powerful day this was. If you weren't, words cannot describe what a powerful, moving experience it was," Lynne said. "While we can't possibly understand how their families feel and what they have sacrificed, we can empathize and feel for them."

The 2004 Tribute to the Troops struck a cord with many of the families as well. "Gregg and Rockie are my heroes. When I heard all the motorcycles come down the street, I couldn't believe so many strangers cared so much about the loss of my son," said Mary Herrgott, whose son Pfc. Edward James Herrgott was killed in Iraq.

This year each family will receive a plaque, a letter of thanks, a commemorative flag and a DVD copy of Lynne's original song "Home," a heartfelt personal tribute to a friend killed while on duty, according to a Tribute to the Troops press release. This is not the first time Lynne has written a patriotic song. His previous tune "Red, White and Blue," speaks to the fact that the U.S. military is comprised of individuals from all walks of life, yet when it comes to protecting the nation, they form a selfless and cohesive unit, Lynne said.

This is also not the first event in which Lynne has donated his time to support the troops. Earlier this year Lynne performed at an "America Supports You" salute to the troops concert at the Pentagon. America Supports You is a Defense Department program that spotlights how Americans are supporting the U.S. military.

The 2005 Tribute to the Troops is actually three separate motorcycle rides that cover different parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. All three routes will converge on Hamel, Minn., where the benefit concert will take place. The concert will also feature the regional bands The Killer Hayseeds, G.B. Leighton, and Brat Pack Radio. Tickets to the show will be available at the door on the day of the event.

According to a Tribute to the Troops press release, all donations collected at the concert will be given to the Wounded Warriors Hospital Fund, a nonprofit organization that purchases comfort items, such as televisions and computers for military medical facilities.

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Related Sites:
Tribute to the Troops
Wounded Warrior Hospital Fund
America Supports You


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