On 15 October 2023, Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial will host hundreds of motorcycle riders participating in the Injured Warrior Appreciation Run motorcycle ride. This ride will benefit the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station.
Organized by the Orange Coast chapter of the Harley Owners Group, the 72-mile journey will travel from the Orange County Harley-Davidson dealership in Irvine, CA, and culminate in a ceremony and lunch for the riders at the Memorial atop Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, California. Every year, this event features a miles-long caravan of patriotic bikers in a visually stunning ride down the Southern California coast.
Throughout the ride’s 12-year history, more than 2000 riders have participated and traveled over 500 miles. Since the event’s start in 2012, the Orange Coast chapter HOGs have supported the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station. They are one of thousands of chapters around the globe sponsored by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, which has had a long history in the U.S. military. Their motorcycles have been used since WWI and continue to be popular among Americans today.
Though there are many rides and other events that support the nation’s service men and women, OCHOG believes that Americans should never forget the significant adjustments military men and women make and the challenges they will face after serving in combat environments. The physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional toll this takes can make it difficult for veterans to adjust to civilian life. Without assistance, this will have life-long effects.
100% of the proceeds from this event go toward Warrior Foundation Freedom Station. The money made goes toward benefitting injured veterans as they adjust to civilian life, ensuring they get the support they need to overcome any challenges. This ranges from airfare for parents to visit their injured veterans to modified aids to help veterans suffering from specific injuries incurred during combat. The Freedom Station also seeks to fill the void in San Diego for a transitional environment between combat and the return to a life outside of the military. It serves as a training ground for any challenge these combat veterans may face, including new careers and buying homes.
Of the event, Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Executive Director Neil O’Connell said, “The annual Injured Warrior Appreciation Ride is an event we look forward to every year. There’s nothing quite like the sight – and sound – of hundreds of bikers circling the Memorial, rallying together from across Southern California to honor our veterans and raise funds for the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station. We look forward to giving every one of them a warm welcome and all our support toward a fun and exciting event with such a meaningful cause.”
As the West Coast’s only Veterans Memorial that honors both living and deceased veterans, Mt. Soledad is proud to act as the destination for this ride. Our mission is to honor our nation’s veterans from every branch and preserve their legacy, so the American public might learn more about the sacrifices they made to keep our nation safe. The Memorial stands high atop the peak of Mt. Soledad, offering panoramic views and 11 curved walls that contain thousands of individual tributes to our nation’s veterans. Their service and sacrifice should never be forgotten.For more information about the event or to register for the ride, visit www.injuredwarriorride.com or email OCHOGs at [email protected]