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IMG_4434It’s my chance to simply say: Thank you!

The day doesn’t get the pomp and circumstance of some other holidays, but today is the time to recognize the heroes among us.

They are the men and women who served in our armed forces. They are the veterans of the United States military.

So, today join me to express our gratitude and say thank you.

Photo taken by author.

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The Culbertson Guidon -- Custer's Last Stand

Last Friday marked the 134th anniversary of the battle.

I’m talking about The Battle of the Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand.  It claimed, 263 soldiers, including Lt. Col. George A. Custer and attached personnel of the U.S. Army, who died fighting several thousand Lakota, and Cheyenne warriors led by Sitting Bull.  They fought for their land near what’s now Crow Agency, MT when the government tried to drive the Indians off the land after white settlers discovered gold there. The Black Hills in southeastern Montana (present day South Dakota) were declared Indian land in the late 1860s.

A single swallowtail flag – or Guidon – is one of the few artifacts found from the battle.  Guidons served as battlefield beacons marking company positions.  The victorious Indians stripped the corpses of trophies, but missed the bloodstained flag, which was hidden under the body of a soldier.  The Culbertson Guidon as it’s called was recovered by Sergeant Ferdinand Culbertson, a member of a burial party.  It was sold for $54 in 1895 to the Detroit Institute of Arts who has now decided to sell it and use the proceeds to build its collection. The flag has been valued at $2 million to $5 million and will be auctioned sometime in October by Sotheby’s.

If you’re headed to the Sturgis Rally then the battlefield is a must see stop.  It’s at the junction of I-90 and Hwy 212 and today the Little Bighorn National Monument offers up a wide range of activities and interpretive opportunities. I was there about 3 years ago and blogged about HERE.  The Forest Rangers provide talks about the battle and there are a number of related items presented in the Visitor Center.  I remember most an obelisk which commemorates the U.S. Army dead, and marks the spot of the mass grave where all U.S. soldiers were re-buried.

Tribal Sites: Crow TribeArikara TribeSioux TribesCheyenne Tribehttp://www.c-a-tribes.org/

Photo of flag courtesy of Sotheby’s.

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movie_posterIt’s iconic.  “A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere.”

Forty years later Sony Pictures prepares to re-release (on October 13th) a newly digitized version of “Easy Rider” on Blu-ray disc and leverage movieIQ technology which allows fans to access relevant cast and crew trivia online.   At the same time, Kerr Leathers, a Salem, MA., company has an exclusive contract to produce replicas of the Captain America leather jacket which Fonda (Wyatt) wore. As one of only a couple American leather makers left,  Kerr also has the contract to produce other anniversary memorabilia, including Fonda’s vest and T-shirt, a CD of the movie songs, and commemorative posters.

The original leather jacket was designed and manufactured by Clarice Amberg of ABC Leathers in South Gate, California.  In 1971, ABC Leathers was bought out by Bates Manufacturing and later the company was renamed Bates Industries.  Currently its Bates Custom Leathers.  Bates is owned by two women, Dawn and Dana Grindle. At the time, ABC Leathers made two jackets and one set of pants for the movie.  The movie secured private financing of $440K and grossed over $19 million.  You can hear Fonda speak about the jacket HERE (.wmv file)

Kerr Leather "Captain America" Clothing

Kerr Leather "Captain America" Clothing

Millions of baby boomers who relate to the movie will undoubtedly line up to obtain one of only 3,000 Captain America jackets to be made.  All are signed by Fonda, and will retail for $459. In a brilliant coup d’état, all of the gear will be sold by Harley-Davidson dealers worldwide.  In addition, each of the dealers will receive a Fonda autographed American flag on one jacket, which will be raffled off for the dealer’s favorite charity.

And speaking of the American flag — the original, one-and-only American flag patch worn on the back of Wyatt’s motorcycle jacket, was sold in 2007 for more than $89,000 by Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, TX.  The flag was featured prominently throughout the movie.  Fonda kept the jacket after production wrapped, and wore it until the jacket wore out. He then saved the patch, framed it, and then decided to make some of the memorabilia available to fans.  Ironically, for a film so fervently anti-establishment, the Department of Defense pin that adorned the jacket was valued at over $15,000. 

The launch of the re-released movie on Blu-ray is set to coincide with the 26th annual Love Ride during California Bike Week (October 23 – 25).  As the population ages it’s common these days to see commemorative clothing and products hit the market.  Nostalgia sells.  The last time Kerr Leathers first produced an “Easy Rider” commemorative jacket was for the film’s 25th anniversary in 1994.

Photos courtesy of Kerr web site.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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I caught a quick blurb of Dennis Miller (comedian) the other night about a petition to establish a National Remembrance Flag.  This was my first introduction to the concept and decided to check it out.

The origin of this idea and petition is based on George Anthony Lutz II  (Tony) who was killed on patrol inside Fallujah, Iraq. His family and friends endured the loss and after their grief had transitioned to acceptance the family like so many other families wanted to know two things: their sacrifice was not in vain and the nation would never forget.  This has led to a quest to promote a universally recognized symbol that acknowledges the American servicemen and servicewomen who never made it home — Remembrance.

In the nation’s history there has never been an officially recognized symbol that reminds us daily of the sacrifices made by members of our military and the lives lost in service to our country.  They have proposed a Honor and Remember Flag as a national emblem for that purpose.

It seems like a good cause in support of our Vets and I wanted to pass it along.  If you’re interested in supporting the initiative the site has a lot of information about the petition.

Flag photo courtesy of web site.

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