National ‘Patriots Tour’ visits Otis Air National Guard Base
By Maj. Robert Spierdowis, 102nd Air Operations Group Public Affairs
/ Published June 19, 2012
OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- An American flag traveling around the country arrived here June 13, 2012. The flag was flown on a flag pole next to an F-15 Eagle static display and ceremoniously folded by the Otis Honor Guard during a brief ceremony.
Every year since 2009, The Nation of Patriots organizes a national event known as "The Patriots Tour" which honors America's Armed Forces - Past, Present and Fallen. The tour travels throughout the country, starting in Oconomowoc, Wis., via Harley Owners Group members on their motorcycles carrying an American flag. The flag is passed from one Harley Owners Group to another until it has visited all 48 contiguous states and is returned to the starting point.
On June 13, the Blackstone Valley Harley Owners Group chapter from Pawtucket, R.I., received the flag to honor and display for one day and approximately 15 riders led by Firman Locke, director of Blackstone Valley HOG chapter, braved the rain to bring the flag here where they were greeted by military and civilian members of the 102nd Intelligence Wing and Massachusetts Military Reservation firefighters.
Locke, stationed here 52 years ago, presented the flag to the Otis Honor Guard and the ceremony formally commenced.
"Our flag represents the eternal principles of liberty, justice and humanity," said Locke. "It embodies American freedom: freedom of speech, religion, assembly, the press and the sanctity of the home. It's the very foundation of this symbol and all it represents that our brave men and women in the military have stood and died and will forever fight for. Their sacrifices have made this country the greatest of all nations and our heartfelt thanks go out to them. For the veterans and active service men and women gathered here today, we would like to...thank you personally."
Col. Anthony E. Schiavi, commander 102nd Intelligence Wing, presented Locke with a symbolic National Guard miniature "Minuteman" statue and commander's coin on behalf of the 102nd Intelligence Wing. With great appreciation he thanked Blackstone Valley and the Nation of Patriots for their unwavering support of the military.
"Godspeed as you take the flag to its next stop," said Schiavi.
Prior to arriving here, the flag already visited Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island. "Old Glory" was scheduled to visit Connecticut next as the flag continued its annual tour.
Rick Carman, stationed here in 1970, made the ride from Rhode Island with his fellow Blackstone Valley members and was planning to make the trip to Connecticut.
When asked exactly where in Connecticut he would be traveling, "I follow the guy in front of me with the flag," said Carman.