Reporting Holly Wagner
ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Hundreds of motorcyclists set out to pay tribute to Minnesota families who have lost loved ones in the war since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Tribute to the Troops and it’s been an annual ride for the past seven years.
The group started out at the State Capitol and will visit the hometowns of eight soldiers who died in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Dianna Beardsley, from Blaine, Minn., is the vice chair of the ride. Her son William Beardsley was killed four years ago in an IED explosion in Iraq. He was 25 years old and left behind a wife and two children.
Dianna Beardsley said she got involved when the Tribute to the Troops ride paid a visit to her home. Now she’s reaching out to other families.
“I see when we come in (that) sometimes it’s the turning point for that family to say, ‘You know what … in honor and memory of my child, or my brother, or my wife or my husband, I need to keep moving,’” said Dianna Beardsley. “Having an organization like this has helped us personally in our healing process.”
She said they’ve rolled through neighborhoods and visited families where their neighbors had no idea they were dealing with such a loss.
She said it lets the families know their son or daughter won’t be forgotten and they understand the sacrifice.
If you hear the sound of rolling thunder this weekend, it could be the Tribute to the Troops riders paying their respects to someone in your neighborhood.