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Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Torch Ride departs for 17-day journey

(SBG image)

EUGENE, Ore. – It was a tearful send-off for local motorcycle riders preparing for a cross-country journey to honor fallen soldiers.

Eugene Police and additional state agencies escorted motorcycle riders who are paying tribute to veterans from around the country.

The annual Tribute to Fallen Soldiers Torch Ride started just after 10 a.m. Saturday at Valley River Center in Eugene.

Dozens of motorcycle riders are honoring 53 fallen soldiers from around the country, including a local family and one of their own before taking off.

“Thank you for your service. The bright glow of the flame exemplifies the soldiers strong, enduring spirit."

At the opening ceremony, servicemen and memorial riders passed the torch to remember the 53 soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The flames will live on like the spirit of a fallen soldier during a 17-day cross-country ride.

During the trip, riders will deliver a plaque of remembrance to 53 families across the country who lost a loved one.

"Because of Tribute to Fallen Soldiers, we will endure."

Bill Filley's brother, a Vietnam veteran, was honored for his services, joining the other soldiers never to be forgotten.

"I really know, firsthand experience, how the families feel now,” Filley said, “it is such an honor."

He’s among dozens of other memorial riders that will spread Saturday's heartfelt reverence across the country after carrying the torch for 17 days.

The riders will extinguish the “Flame of Fallen Soldiers” at their end destination -- Arlington National Cemetery.

By Saturday evening, the riders were in Tacoma at Lewis-McChord Air Force Base.

Any of the riders can ride for as long as they want, and others can join in on the way.

If you have friends with motorcycles in another state, tell them about the ride.

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