Chained Eagles Roar Into Town

More than 600 motorcycles participated in a procession from Wapakoneta to St. Marys to escort a traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Staff Writer

With the accompanying wail of police and fire sirens, the Chained Eagles roared into St. Marys Thursday evening, escorting the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to the Armory parking lot as part of SummerFest's opening day.
The string of more than 600 motorcycles of all varieties began the journey to St. Marys at the TA Truck Stop in Wapakoenta. From there, they traveled across the county before being met at the edge of town by their escort of two St. Marys police cars, a St. Marys fire engine and a St. Marys Township fire engine. The procession and traveling memorial were brought courtesy of the Chained Eagles of Ohio, a motorcycle club that is dedicated to making sure that prisoners of war and soldiers who went missing in action are never forgotten.
While some of the missing may only come home as remains — having passed while still in the country they went to war in — Chained Eagles Trustee Bill Ream and his fellow Eagles hold on to the hope that some of them are still out there, trying to make it back to the United States.
That hope and strength is alive and well in the veterans who attended the opening festivities to the annual summer celebration. St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce Director Abby Balster noted a specific example she saw during the playing of the national anthem by the St. Marys All Brass Band when she saw a double amputee stand for the anthem.
The group supports local veterans and veteran organizations in any way it can, Ream said.
Ream said the procession to SummerFest was possible through the generous participation of volunteer bikers who wanted to be part of something bigger. He added that the group advertised the ride in bars, VFWs, AmVets and "wherever bikers like to go," around the area.
The large turnout combined with the pride and respect from the city made for an emotional time for all involved. The most emotional moment for Ream came when the procession turned from Spruce Street onto Spring and he saw the flag hanging between two ladder trucks — one from St. Marys and one from Celina.

— To read the full story, pick up a copy of the Aug. 10 print edition of The Evening Leader.