Submitted by Gppops

The Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 131 and Betty Zimmerman, President of Berks County Chapter of the Gold Star Mothers of America contacted American Warriors’ Watch Coalition and requested Warriors’ Watch Riders provide a flag line at the 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Reading City Park in Reading Pa.

Ten bikes and a cage met up at our Rally Location, Michael’s Diner in Douglassville, PA. From there we travelled about 12 miles through rural Berks County to Memorial Park in Reading. Memorial Park is a peaceful, secluded park in the middle of Reading Pa.

The park contains memorials recognizing our service members, honoring their service and sacrifice for our country in all wars back to the Revolutionary War. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is at the very center of the park, a broad expanse of granite with steps leading to a rock containing the names of Berks County’s service members killed in action in Vietnam along with three POW/MIA’s. Sitting on the steps is a lone soldier, tired and weary, hands clenched together in his lap with his head low. Only those who have experienced what he has can imagine his thoughts going through his mind.

When we arrived at the park there were about 250 people ready and waiting for the ceremony. Many were Patriotic Bikers, Vietnam Vets, and also in attendance were many family members of the Vietnam Veterans who were listed on the Vietnam Veteran Memorial.

We set our flag line along the outer circle of the memorial, and were joined by about a dozen others carrying their stars and stripes. The ceremony was conducted on the memorial itself, containing the podium, wreaths surrounding the lone soldier, and on the steps were a pair of combat boots for each service member Killed in Action.

Two Vietnam Veterans spoke of their experiences while serving in Vietnam, and upon their return from the war. One of them read aloud the names etched in stone and after each name a bell was rung in their honor. He apologized, for as he was reading their names, he would spontaneously choke up, filled with emotion remembering he played sandlot ball with one and was a boy scout with another……

Following the two speakers there was a dedication by the President of Berks County Gold Star Mothers of two granite Memorial Benches. One honoring her son, fallen hero Travis Zimmerman and all fallen heroes from Berks County who have given their life in the Global War on Terror. The second bench was dedicated in honor of all veterans, past-present and future.

Following the ceremony we headed to the memorial where we presented the Warriors’ Watch Riders Honor coin to the vet that had read the names of the fallen. We also met up with the man responsible for organizing the event who is the president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 131. His name is Bernie Bingham, and he expressed his gratitude for our support and standing the flag line. We presented Bernie with our coin, and told him thank you for his service and sacrifice for Our Country, and welcome home.