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Posts Tagged ‘USS Arizona Memorial’

DSC_0164It was 73 years ago today – December 7, 1941 – that bombs fell on Pearl Harbor.

It was a stealthy attack that took the lives of more than 2,400 Americans, threaten internment of 150,000 people of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii and was a tipping point for the nation which jumped headlong into its 2nd major war of the century.  It was a day filled with sacrifices and heroism – one that should not be forgotten.

DSC_0160Just six years earlier Harley-Davidson founded the Japanese motorcycle industry.  In fact, from the H-D history page it states:

“1935 — The Japanese motorcycle industry is founded as a result of Harley-Davidson licensing blueprints, tools, dies and machinery to the Sankyo Company of Japan. The result is the Rikuo motorcycle.”

Visiting the U.S.S. Arizona memorial is always a somber experience and this event still effects our world…

Photos by author.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Elvis Presley - 1957 Harley-Davidson FLH

Elvis Presley - 1957 Harley-Davidson FLH

This month marks the 40th Anniversary of Elvis Presley’s return to live concert performances in Las Vegas in 1969. 

It had been 8 years since Elvis last performed a live benefit concert in Honolulu, his first post-Army appearance, and after 8 years of recording sessions at American Studios and movie making he started his record breaking engagement in July of 1969. When he opened at the International Hotel for a four-week, 57-show engagement, it broke all existing Las Vegas attendance records.  At the time it was the largest showroom in Las Vegas, holding more than 2000 people.

elvis_enthusiastYou don’t have to drink the Elvis cool-aid to know he enjoy Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Elvis became a lifelong bike enthusiast and was a member of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).  Sometime in 1955 after earning a regular income he purchased his first H-D.  It was a small ’56 ST165.  Your basic entry level model with 165cc that was sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Harley Hummer.

In January 1956 he bought a new Model KH from the Memphis H-D dealer and in May of that year he appeared on the cover of Harley’s The Enthusiast magazine riding that ’56 KH.   The ’56 Model KH was 54ci (883cc) side valve motorcycle and the precursor of today’s Sportster which was released in 1957 with an overhead valve motor.  After just a few months Elvis moved up to a larger motorcycle when he purchased a 1957 Harley-Davidson FLH.  At the time The Atomic Powered Singer wrote: 

“Elvis bought his new Harley on November 1, 1956 while he was in downtown Memphis to have his Continental Mark II insured. Later in the day Natalie Wood, clad in jeans, climbed up on the seat behind Elvis and they gunned out from the Audubon Drive driveway and roared around the Memphis streets for three hours accompanied by a motorcycle policeman and Nick Adams, who was riding Elvis’ old Harley Davidson.”

Elvis Presley passed away August 16, 1977.   CKX continues to market and TCB for the “King”.  To commemorate his passing Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) and Graceland H-D are offering to sale five special edition 2009 Harley-Davidson Street Glide with Elvis imagery at $50,731 each.  Buyers will be treated to a unique bike delivery experience in Memphis during Elvis Week and can participate in the various Elvis rides.

I might be in the Vegas/Laughlin area later this month and will let you know if there are any Elvis “sightings.”

Photo courtesy of H-D Enthusiast Magazine and photographer Ted Bruehl.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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sailorTo the men and women who have or continue to serve our country we honor you today. 

I’m grateful to our Veterans who serve and have made tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedom. I posted a previous article HERE on Veterans Day events.

There are a number of HOG and ABATE members as well as Harley Riders organizing in parades throughout the northwest today in a show of support for Veteran’s Day.

 

Photo of Bryan Hunter (Gilmer, TX) taken (with permission) at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor Honolulu, HI.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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“I sure as sh*t seen everything now.” – Bartender

I didn’t start with that quote just because it’s funny….I stuck it in because I can relate.  When it comes to motorcycle “clubs” there is a part of me that admires the so called “outlaw biker”.  They turned riding in the wind into something to live for.  They made the motorcycle the cornerstone of their identity and it’s the metaphor for their personal freedom.  Hollywood romanticizes this image.  In fact, many outlaw bikers envision themselves as social rebels who promote personal freedoms, by exercising their right to choose and their freedom to associate.

I figured I’ve seen pretty much everything in all my years on this earth, but I was caught off guard by the number of comments  from people who expressed outrage here and on many other motorcycle “boards” about the topic of large 1%er “clubs” trying to dominate thru intimidation and impose their will on other clubs. I didn’t even write the article, but the comments had a life of their own!  Sometimes clubs are forced into, or willingly accept, “support” roles for a 1%er club. Smaller clubs who resist a large 1%er club have “voluntarily” been forcibly disbanded, e.g. told to hand over their colors or risk war.  In turf wars, patches feud not people, but people get hurt.

OVMA

OVMA

Should we care about 1%er business?  Not really.   The “hornet theory” (leave them alone and they will leave you alone) has served most of us motorcycle enthusiasts well.  We’ve certainly read press reports that the larger 1%er MCs are rivals with each other and have fought over territory, patch rivalry and other issues…as the local CoC (Confederation of Clubs) work to eliminate most of these interclub issues.  But this isn’t about 1%er rivalry.  It’s about the Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association (OVMA or cached version HERE), a legally registered non-profit organization with a membership of 600 and 12 chapters state-wide, who have been ordered to close its doors by October 24th by a 1%er “club” in Oregon.

I do care about my personal rights.  I’m talking about the constitution and the right of free assembly, the right to privacy, the right of free association and the right to defend ourselves against oppressors, both foreign and domestic.  These are the very rights that I connected to those social rebels, the so called outlaw biker who has been vocal in evangelizing those freedoms for all.  But isn’t this hypocrisy?

The issue of “clubs” preying on each other which then spills over to preying on all of us…means you and I in the biker community loose.  I grew up in a time when everyday life was simple…you worked, obeyed the law, cared for your family, looked out for your neighbors and respected your country.  At least that was the creed of the working class, which does most of the of the country’s heavy lifting.  How is this any different than the “Crips” or “El Norte” street gang doing their best to instill fear in local area residents?  If certain groups among us are successful of shutting down a legal non-profit veterans organization then who is the next target from the mainstream motorcycle clubs or riding associations?  Is it the Harley Owners Group, Honda Riders Club of America or the BMW Riders Association?  Or maybe it’s the Patriot Guard Riders, who provide funeral escorts for military veterans?

A larger issue is the very real dangers regarding laws and legislation that is not specific and general in nature with regard to “clubs” or gangs and how those clubs are defined. When laws and legislation are not specific or is left to individuals or even the court’s interpretation and discretion… we should have cause for concern. It’s very likely that some opportunistic politician will leverage this situation, evangelize how Biker gangs are out of control in Oregon and use it to introduce a bill in Salem that will limit motorcycle association rights.  They are probably scheduling a press briefing right now to tell us how its “good for the motorcycle economy”!

Don’t believe it’s possible?  Then check out how Myrtle Beach decided to eliminate motorcycle rallies! Where is the line on a rally vs. an event in the legal system?  Well the attorney’s will get wealthy because the litigation is starting and it’s the first of motorcycle association rights that effect you.

So, in the interest to educate the motorcycle enthusiasts of the northwest mark your calendar on October 25th.  It’s called “Free The Colors”, a grassroots initiative in Oregon inspired by “Pappy” and I’m helping to bring visibility.  See more information HERE.  On that day every rider regardless of club affiliation should openly and peacefully support the OVMA’s courageous stand against intimidation.

Let’s exercise our right to peaceful assembly, to choose and defend our personal freedom of association with the OVMA while honoring our veterans.  I’m just one person advocating for a just society.  Now excuse me while I go rent a Mary Poppins video and buy a popsicle for little Billy (before he gets hooked on meth)…

UPDATE: October 19, 2008 – Ride details available HERE for Free The Colors Day.

UPDATE: September 27, 2008 – The ride results are HERE.

OVMA photo courtsey of web site.  Legal books courtsey of  VBI.

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