While the money continues to come in this week, it appears this year's Patriot Thunder rally will break more than just one record. On Sunday, roughly 750 motorcycles made the yearly trek down the interstate -- about a hundred more than last year -- as the event marked its third anniversary.
This organized rally of motorcycle enthusiasts from the Treasure Valley as well as the Mountain Home community rallied to raise money for military based charities. They include The Wounded Warrior Project, Idaho National Guard and Reserve Family Support Fund as well as Operation Warmheart at Mountain Home Air Force Base.
These are all worthy causes that provide needed help for those who serve their nation as well as their families.
The show of support across Mountain Home was clearly evident as clusters of people stood along the route as the motorcycles entered the city. Crowds of well wishers were camped out along East 8th North Street well in advance of the procession's arrival time with others gathered near Carl Miller Park to wish these riders God speed as they left for their final stop at the Warhawk Museum in Nampa.
For the most part, people in this community fully understood the importance of this event and the meaning of having all these motorcycles and riders join together at the same time. Unfortunately, that wasn't always the case that day.
A few individuals here were visibly upset that this rally actually happened that day. Their conversations tended to focus on the "inconvenience" they faced when sections of the interstate were temporarily closed on Sunday.
Just to clarify, the closures were a safety measure to allow these hundreds of riders to successfully make the journey without the added danger of additional -- and usually unpredictable -- traffic on that stretch of the interstate.
One heated conversation overheard that day really pushed it over the top. Someone admitted it took them twice as long to get from Boise to Mountain Home that day blamed the rally for the delay. From their perspective, the motorcycles were a huge nuisance.
Perhaps what these folks really needed was a different perspective.
The important thing to remember is the underlying purpose of Patriot Thunder -- to honor those who serve this county in the armed forces. In fact, many of the motorcycle riders were either veterans or personally knew one. They understood all too well the meaning of service and duty.
For those who serve this nation, for example, the "inconvenience" of an extended car drive is nothing compared to the tremendous sacrifices they make every day. It's something most Americans don't understand or could comprehend unless they've dealt with it themselves.
Every man and woman that wears a military uniform is asked to accept an obligation that often means being cut off from their family and friends for months or years at a time.
Most of these brave service members step in harm's way to safeguard those who don't have guaranteed freedoms or the level of protection our nation's citizens easily enjoy.
Many of those in the military are able to come home safely only to turn around a few months later to once again serve in combat zones overseas. Some return home with physical and emotional scars from their time in combat.
Others pay the ultimate price in service to their country.
From their perspective, the "inconvenience" of having to wait a little longer to make the routine trip from one city to the next is nearly laughable compared to the real inconveniences they face every day. Our service members would relish the idea of having to wait a little longer in traffic if it meant being able to spend time with their spouses and children that they hadn't seen in 12 or 18 months.
From their perspective, that little inconvenience would be well worth it.
-- Brian S. Orban