MASON CITY, Ia – One Mason City group kicked-off Memorial Day by giving some tender loving care to veteran’s memorial sites.
“We want to honor them and do what we can to help them out and pay back in some sort of special way,” says organizer Kyle Easley.
Easley is a member of the Harley Davidson Owners Group (HOG) in Mason City. He and his fellow members honored veterans by making sure their grave sites are well maintained.
Many vets served in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, some their family members may have also passed on, leaving their headstones untouched.
“It was interesting to come out here and see how many of the headstones out here that were in the World War II were decorated, so they still have family around to come out and clean and decorate but, then there’s how many of those that weren’t,” says HOG member Ken Beck.
Those left untouched are the ones members scrubbed and adorned with flowers.
Easley says he got the idea from his dad.
“I always kind of liked that idea, that my dad had, and the last couple years I’d come out and do it but, we thought as a group, what a better way to honor, not only those who currently serve, and those who have served in the past,” says Easley
As they scrubbed, it wasn’t easy to overlook their sacrifices.
“To just honor those; it’s a great opportunity as your cleaning to read the names and you read what happened to them. I mean it really, really humbles you and it really puts everything into perspective,” says Easley.
Group members recognize that without these veterans, we may not be living in a free country.
“We need to thank the people that have given everything to us, so we can do the things that we find enjoyable like for us, our bike riding,” says HOG member Valerie Lillibridge.
Whether it be scrubbing headstones or attending a service Monday morning, it’s important to recognize those who gave their lives for us, and not just for today.
“I guess it’s all of our responsibility to make sure that everything is taken care of and not just for Memorial Day, it should be a year-round thing too,” says Beck.