American Legion welcomes Gold Star cyclists

Local News

SULLIVAN, Ill. (WCIA) — These men at the American Legion post have new Honor Guard uniforms and say it’s thanks to previous Operation Honor Guard efforts.

Even though they were given what they need, they’re still helping others reach their goals. Wednesday, they were able to do that.

There was a big celebration when they met with the Gold Star Mission. Cyclists are riding 500 miles around the state to honor fallen soldiers; Honor Guard members serve at funerals to do the same thing.

“One for the Honor Guard, one fo the Color Guard, the flag is on the right shoulder.”

This is Robert Sims.

“The necktie and the Legion and white shirt and my hat’s over there.”

He’s dressed for 34 guests riding into town. Members of the Gold Star Mission are riding 500 miles for 34 Illinois’ National Guard members killed in action.

“Each one of the riders have a name plate on the back of their bicycles and that’s who they’re riding in honor for.”

The American Legion was able to show up in full regalia thanks to Operation Honor Guard.

“Some of them were faded and worn and everybody got new shirts, new ties, new hats.”

The money previously raised helped buy uniforms. It makes the members feel pretty good.

“Warm and fuzzy, I guess.”

The groups shared a meal knowing they want the same thing: To honor those who have fallen.

“When we see that we understand there’s a story behind that uniform, there’s a story behind each and every uniform and, for a lot of us, we identify that and that’s a special feeling.”

When it was time for the cyclists to go onto their next location, they were reminded of their similar duties.

“Always remember, never forget. Always remember, never forget.”

Their uniforms may be different, but their goals are the same. Even though their uniforms have been paid for, they’re so grateful, they’ll be back in Champaign this year to raise money for other Honor Guards.

Operation Honor Guard is Thursday, October 4. This year’s goal is $170,000.

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