Military veterans honored at Willow Lane event
They came, three dozen strong, with engines revving and flags flying, to honor the veterans who are residents of The Village at Willow Lane Senior Living Community in Macungie.
The motorcyclists of Warriors' Watch Riders are patriots who welcome home service veterans from overseas duty and bring their motorcycles and waving flags to ceremonies honoring those who have served their country in the U.S. military.
At a ceremony July 27 at The Village at Willow Lane, the cyclists formed an honor guard to salute each veteran as the veteran emerged from the facility for a picnic lunch on the grounds. Each vet received a heroes' commendation recognizing their service with a star patch cut from flags which have flown in the U.S. and abroad.
The special honoree at the annual recognition ceremony was Raymond Mohr, a U.S. Army radioman who participated in the invasion of Europe on D-Day, June 6, 1944, at Omaha Beach.
Still alert and proud of his service, Mohr, 94, appeared in his Army waistcoat with the appropriate service medallions signifying his World War II service.
Mohr received France's Legion of Honor in a ceremony last year. The medallion is France's highest honor bestowed on U.S. military veterans who participated in the liberation of France in 1944.
Mohr recalls returning to Europe five years ago to visit the places where he fought and perform an act of kindness for former Emmaus resident Audrey Garcia who was 12 years old when her brother was killed in action, and who never received the closure of knowing where her brother was buried.
Mohr, and his grandson, Jeffrey Lindenmuth, of Allentown, who accompanied Mohr on the European trip, researched military records, found the grave of Joseph Elwood, and brought Garcia the small flag that decorated her brother's final resting place.
At the annual event in Macungie, Mohr returned the salutes of the honor guard as he walked with the help of a walker, and with a scrapbook of his European visit, to a tent erected outside the senior living community where he received a commendation and enjoyed a picnic lunch with other residents.
The motorcyclists left with flags waving on a perfect summer afternoon to ride to the National Guard Armory in Allentown to welcome home a contingent of military personnel returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.