In terms of non-escort “feel-good” rides, this parade was The Big One. We had planned and perspired over this one for months, and in the end it was well worth it. The 4th of July Parade in Glenside is one of the biggest and oldest in this region of the country. Starting with day-long activities for kids and families and followed by a massive fireworks display on the grounds of Abington High School, the northern Philadelphia suburb becomes THE place to be every 4th of July.

This was the first year that the Warriors’ Watch Riders entered the parade, but that is because the WWR did not exist last year. Our individual reputations as leaders and patriots preceded us however, and we were not only asked to enter the parade but we were given a place of honor, leading off the parade as the crowd-awakener. Thousands lined the streets along the parade route and cheered and clapped as we passed, gunning our V-twins and blowing our horns.

The riders with us come from all walks of life – activists and housewives, professionals and police officers, firefighters and active-duty military members, businessmen, retirees, corporate executives, church workers,  and everything between, many riding with wives and kids and husbands and girlfriends, all united by our passion for motorcycles, love of country and our total devotion to our troops.

There are three divisions to this parade, each with its own theme. The first division which we led was themed “United We Stand.” Our theme, the WWR theme as a unit, was “Support Our Troops.” Combining the two, we separated a diverse group of members into their own unique troop-and-veteran-and-military family-support organizations, all showcased as one big troop support effort under the Warriors’ Watch Banner.

For example, we had Chris Hill, National Director of Operations for the Gathering of Eagles, and one of our support trucks flew the GOE flag. We had Rich Davis, founder of the American Sheepdogs (Who founded the Chester County Victory Movement) and their support group carrying their troop-support flags and their own banner. We had A Hero’s Welcome, the troop and family support group founded by Sharon Hyland and ably run by Maria Hyland while Sharon attends Officer Candidate School, having just joined the Marine Corps.

Those were some of the non-motorcycle troop support groups with whom the WWR has formed firm partnerships in honoring our troops. The motorcycle clubs involved with the WWR, included groups such as the Marne Riders, Friends of the Forgotten, Blue Comets, the Combat Vets MC, Second Brigade MC, various H.O.G. chapters, American Legion Riders, Rolling Thunder, and others, and many individual riders with affiliations to the Marine Corps League, VFWs, the National Guard, and riders who active duty military members AND immediate family members of troops currently deployed in defense of our freedoms.

I was the first to arrive at the Shell Station staging area, parked and staring across the street at a lone rider from some other small motorcycle group that had a placement somewhere near the back of the second division. Prez and a buddy came over then, and a few more. I left to go to the check-in area down at Keswick and Easton. I was gone maybe 10 minutes and when I returned the parking lot was already filling up with motorcycles and red shirts. In the end we had SIXTY bikes, three support vehicles very smartly decked out in red-white and blue, and a large team of happy “walkers,” for carrying signs, banners and passing out informational flyers.

There is a nationwide movement to have people wear red shirts on Fridays as a show of solidarity for our troops, and since this 4th of July fell on a Friday, T had decreed that we should all wear red shirts in the parade. The result was astounding – that parking lot was a sea of red shirts and it made one heck of an impression.

60 bikes, three support vehicles and many walkers – flags, banners, signs, red shirts and it all came together in one of the best 4th of July parade entries I’ve ever seen – and I’ve seen a few.

Warriors’ Watch Riders – you did good. REAL good. I know you all that that same good feeling inside you that I did, and I am glad for you. Country Mike, THANK YOU for your after-parade hospitality and food and drink at your home for a LOT of bikers. Filling your suburban street up with motorcycles and your backyard with bikers is taking a chance and we applaud you for your bravery!

Check out the links, check out our partners, and look at the photos on the “Photos” page of this site. I’m sure we’ll be there again next year!

– lutz