Today is

2013 Tour of Honor


The Tour of Honor is a great reason to hit the open road, honor our heroes, and contribute to a good cause, the WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT. The event is a season-long, self-directed ride to memorials and monuments around the continental U.S. and Hawaii, with 40 states and one Canadian province participating in 2013. More information can be found at www.tourofhonor.com
 
The list of sites was not released until 1 minute after midnight, Pacific time, on April 1st. That's 3 AM on the East coast. I got up at 2:30, got myself ready, and waited for the sites to be released. I spent a little time after that mapping out a route, then I set out.
 
 
Memorial #1
Alamance County War Memorial
Graham, NC
 
This was my first stop. It was cold and raining all the way there. It was still cold, dark, & wet when I arrived, so the picture isn't great. It has an inscription that reads, "This memorial is dedicated to the honor of all of the brave men and women of Alamance County who fought in service to their country and in memory of those who died in defense of our freedom."
Memorial #2
Henderson Vietnam Memorial
Hendersonville, NC
 
This was stop #2. I made a lot of detours at BBQ restaurants along the way, so I didn't get there until about noon. It was busy downtown, so I couldn't get any closer. I have a second picture from up close.
Memorial #2
Henderson Vietnam Memorial
Hendersonville, NC
 
This is the up close picture of this monument. In this picture you can read the dedication.
Memorial #3
Cowpens Veterans Memorial Park
Cowpens, SC
 
I got to Cowpens just after 1 PM. Despite this being just small town, this is my favorite of all the memorials. It was very well done, so I took several photos, including a panorama. It is dedicated to all who served or are serving.
Memorial #3
Cowpens Veterans Memorial Park
Cowpens, SC
 
This is the panorama of the Park.
Memorial #3
Cowpens Veterans Memorial Park
Cowpens, SC
 
Here's a close-up of the Memorial
Memorial #4
First Responders Remembrance Memorial
Columbia, SC
 
I arrived in Columbia around 3:30 PM to see this monument. It's a little different, as it's dedicated to the victims and first responders who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. It features two steel beams from the World Trade Center, and 2 granite towers.
Memorial #5
H.L. Hunley Replica
Charleston, SC
 
I made it to Charleston around 6PM to see this really cool memorial. It's a replice of the H.L. Hunley, which was the first successful submarine.
Memorial #6
Veterans Memorial Triangle
Marion, SC
 
It took until a little after 9PM to make it to Marion. This is a pretty neat memorial, but it's located in what appeared to be "not the best neighborhood". Given that it was after dark, I was getting a lot of strange looks from the people at the bar across the street, and I feared for my life (just a little), I snapped a quick, crappy picture, and got the heck out of there. I would recommend visiting this one during daylight hours.
Memorial #7
Freedom Flame
Wilmington, NC
 
On my way to Wilmington (I arrived around 11:30 PM) it got cold -- really cold. I had to stop along the way and add few layers. This is a small, but cool monument, featuring a flame that burns all the time. The plague on it says, "Dedicated to those citizens of Wilmington and New Hanover County who have given of themselves and those yet to answer the call to preserve liberty for all mankind."
Memorial #8
Murfreesboro Veterans Monument
Murfreesboro, NC
 
I didn't get to this one until April 2. I got so cold after my seventh stop, I decided to ride the 2 hours home, get a couple hours sleep (in a warm bed), and head out the next day. I got to Murfreesboro around 9 AM. It was a cold (almost 5-hour round trip) ride there and back, but it was worth it. It's a small, well-done monument, honoring those from the area who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of freedom.
Memorial #9
10th Mountain Division Ski Troops Memorial
Gatlinburg, TN
 
I was on a family vacation to Gatlinburg, and decided to check and see if there were any Tour of Honor Memorials in the area. Sure enough, there was one right in Gatlinburg. This memorial is a fantastic one to visit, as long as you don't go during the winter. There is a steep climb up a mountain to the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. They charge a 5 dollar parking fee, but when I got to the gate, the attendant just waved me right through. I'm not sure if it's because I was on a motorcycle, because it was getting late, or because I'm just a great looking guy. Either way, I was allowed in for free. In addition to the outstanding ride up the side of the mountain to this memorial, there is also a great view of the Smoky Mountains. If you are in the area, I highly recommend a visit.


Memorial #10
National D-Day Memorial
Bedford, VA
 
We were riding up to Virginia for a football game, so we decided to detour through Bedford and visit the D-Day Memorial. In addition to getting the picture, we decided to take the guided tour. What a fantastic memorial! I'm so glad we took the time to see the whole thing. We plan to return next year for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.





Memorial #11
Halifax County War Memorial
Halifax, VA
 
This was a very nice Memorial. I has the names of all men & women from Halifax county, who have paid the ultimate price. It goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War.
 
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