The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 9, 2013

Susan Redden: Rep. Davis organizes honors for those who honor military

Sedalia will be filled Saturday with Patriot Guard Riders and other motorcycle groups that support the military for Patriot Guard Day at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.

The gathering is a project of state Rep. Charlie Davis, of Webb City, who is chairman of the House Veterans Committee. The goal is to honor groups that honor military families at funerals and other events.

“We’re expecting about 5,000 people, including Patriot Guard, American Legion Riders, the Green Knights, VFW motorcycle groups and other motorcycle groups that support the military,” he said.

Davis said all the motorcyclists are to meet at the Sedalia airport and ride, as a group, to the fairgrounds.

Events planned for the day include a motorcycle show and rodeo, rides in an Army tank and in the POW/MIA hot air balloon, and performances by two bands, including Dirty Deeds, from Joplin.

Davis said resolutions will be presented to express the state’s appreciation for the efforts of the groups. Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder will be the keynote speaker, and there will be a recorded greeting from Gov. Jay Nixon, who will be out of the country at the time. Davis said members of the House Veterans Committee and the Senate Veterans’ Affairs and Health Committees will be on hand, and that other lawmakers have been invited.

“It’s not a political event; they’ve just been invited to come and support the Patriot Guard,” he said.

No state funds are going for the event, Davis said. He said money had been raised from lobbyists, and from businesses including Empire District Electric Co. and Harley-Davidson dealers.

“We’ve got just about enough money raised,” he said. “We’re selling T-shirts; if we sell them all, we’ll break even.”

Patriot Guard Riders organized to form a protective barrier for military families after members of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., began picketing the funerals of service members. State laws and court rulings have lessened the potential impact of the protests but have not eliminated them.

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