OTTUMWA — The sound of engines was in the air Sunday morning as a group of Christian Motorcyclist Association members, as well as family and friends, prepared for a group ride to Des Moines.
The trip was organized so the group could join with hundreds of other bikers for Iowa Thunder, an event created to honor military veterans. All the groups converged at a meeting place and paraded to the capitol. There family members and friends of veterans spoke about their loved ones and the service they had provided for their country. A bell was rung for each veteran from Iowa that had been lost in the last year.
The event was created by a man named Rabbi 25 years ago. Twenty years before that, Rabbi’s grandfather was asked to honor a man he had served with overseas at the soldier's funeral and asked Rabbi to come with him. Rabbi said this experience taught him about respect and honor and inspired him to create the Iowa Thunder Ride. The event started with a focus on honoring Vietnam veterans and has now branched out to honor veterans from all wars.
Jim Schaffner led the riders from Ottumwa to Des Moines and picked up other bikers on the way. Schaffner and many of the other CMA members have been making the ride for Iowa Thunder for many years.
“This ride means that our freedoms that we have in this country have been brought by the many lives that have been sacrificed and the freedoms we have to ride and to do many other things,” Schaffner said.