The 2013 Pledge Ride to Dallas is now done . . . but certainly not to be forgotten.
And hopefully, it’s been so long since I’ve written an editorial, that you haven’t forgotten me either. I really wanted to write about the RIDE from the road, but several things happened that got in the way.
1 – I thought that we would simply ride from one sleep destination to another, where I would have time to write a bit of a chronicle before turning-in for the night. Well, that didn’t happen, because between rides, I had “Pledge Rider Business” to take care of.
2 – The distances between the sleep-stop-points of the RIDE were at least six hours on average, including fuel and food stops, which were far more tiring for me than I had anticipated.
3 – The RIDE took 7 days for Anne, Stryker (our German Shepherd) and myself to make from our home (Williamstown Ontario Canada) to Dallas (July 16 – July 22). And let me tell you . . . seven days on the road in extreme heat, averaging about 100 degrees day in and day out was exhausting.
And if you’re wondering about Anne and Stryker, they were in our air-conditioned car used as a support vehicle.
And once we reached the hotel where we were staying at the end of each day, checked-in, unpacked and had supper . . . there was very little energy left within me to write even short editorials.
THE PLEDGE RIDE WAS A HUGE SUCCESS BY ALL MEASURE:
There were and are multi-purposes of the Pledge Ride.
1 – To join Christians and Jews together in a common cause to do whatever we can by spreading the word, that there should NEVER be a Second Holocaust in a world that is becoming increasingly more anti-Semitic with every passing day, especially in Europe, the homeland of past Pogroms and the Holocaust.
2 – To spread the word in as many places we possibly can . . . to people who have no clue what is happening in the world today vis a vis Jew-Hatred, and the inherent consequences to everyone, Jewish, Christian or Atheist alike, if we allow Holocaust history to repeat itself.
People must also know that the rampant hatred spreading through the world, especially at the hands of Islam, is not exclusive to Israel and/or Jews.
3 – To develop as much support as possible for Israel, the Middle East’s ONLY Democracy. And the ONLY true friend and ally to the West, FREEDOM and Modernity in that entire region.
4 – To establish a special legitimacy we can use to travel the length and breadth of the USA and Canada in addition to the annual Pledge Ride, exclusively to educate people on the TRUTH, the History, and the REAL potential for another Holocaust, to those amongst us who are either unaware of the Holocaust, or believe that it could NEVER happen again.
THE MEASUREMENT OF SUCCESS:
Taking these FOUR measurements of success into consideration, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind and the minds and opinions of all the RIDERS who made the trip, that we accomplished all of our goals in a stellar fashion.
A FEW PLEDGE RIDE HIGHLIGHTS:
1 – One of our Riders (from Toronto), Andy Reti, who is a Child Holocaust Survivor and deliverer of our Pledge in Dallas, who also delivered the FIRST Pledge in Ottawa on May 28, 2012 on Parliament Hill, turned Seventy-One just several days prior to the RIDE, proving that the willingness to accomplish an important event in spite of the physical and mental challenges far exceeds age.
That Pastor Wes Alvarez, a REAL Mensch (extremely good person), who is Gary Burd’s Right Hand, also celebrated a birthday during the RIDE.
2 – Two Pledge Riders from Georgia (Wayne Markman and Betsy Blume) used the occasion of the RIDE to get married at the beginning of the event. What can be better than that?
3 – On the way to Dallas, several of us in the first group diverted to Cleveland Ohio, where we met with a major Christian Television Broadcast Network (CTC), which did a feature on our RIDE.
And as a special treat, we met the CTC camera crew and Show Host at a Black Revivalist Church, where we were treated like ROYALTY.
And as we rode-up in 100-degree heat, the Deacon of the Church and several of his assistants were waiting for us with a huge tub filled with water bottles submerged in ice, which was indeed like a gift from heaven.
And if that wasn’t enough, they took our orders for sandwiches, soft drinks, chips etc, that they were going to purchase from a local sandwich shop, for which I had insisted we pay, to no avail, since they wouldn’t hear of it.
And even when I further INSISTED that I pay for a Turkey Sandwich for Stryker, that too they wouldn’t hear of, since as far as they were concerned, Stryker was part of the Pledge Ride.
4 – Once we all arrived in Oklahoma City on July 21, where all the Pledge Riders assembled at a Christian Community Center at 6:30 in the evening, we were treated to great speeches, especially from Joyce Kaufman and Nonie Darwish with a special speech by Georgia Rider Michael Thomas, who explained the meaning of the KADDISH, the ancient Hebrew Prayer for the Dead, to those who were unaware.
Then again, certainly amongst the Jewish Riders . . . we were blown away by Conservative Homeland Christian Hospitality, where Church Members volunteered, organized, and PAID for a veritable homemade feast they prepared for all the RIDERS, served after the speeches.
CO-ORGANIZER OF THE PLEDGE RIDE – GARY BURD OF M-25 MADE IT HAPPEN:
During the early morning hours of the 22nd, we we mounted our BIKES at 5:30, and headed for an assembly point, where most of the Riders affixed Israeli Flags to their BIKES, which were supplied to us (100 Flags) courtesy of the Montreal Suburban Newspaper.
In addition . . . twelve volunteers also affixed specially made individual Flags supplied and paid for by Gary Burd’s M-25, each representing one of the original Tribes of Israel, which segmented our staggered riding Formation into twelve groups, making it possible to organize for everything from how we rode in traffic to how we fueled-up.
And once in Dallas, I asked the Motorcycle Police Sargent In Charge, if his officers would be able to escort us through Dallas with little effort? To which he responded: “Sir, there will be no effort, since you guys will OWN the road.”
In addition to all of the other great organizing courtesy of Gary Burd, he OUTDID himself in Dallas, where he had arranged an incredible POLICE escort of cars and motorcycles, LITERALLY closing down the I-35, Dallas’ main traffic artery for the Pledge Ride Formation of BIKES that ran more than a half mile long.
It was an unbelievable sight of more than 100 Motorcycles amidst flashing police lights, racing along the I-35 with American and Israeli Flags flying proudly in the formation.
And as a special treat and personal reward for me, Gary and I led this fabulous formation of Bikes and Flags from the I-35 through the streets of Dallas to our Pledge Point just outside the Cotton Bowl.
A PLEDGE NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN:
The Pledge event was nothing short of perfect.
When everything can and usually does go wrong, this event went-off without a glitch. There was an opening prayer delivered by a Pentecostal Bishop to the RIDERS and non riding spectators.
The playing of the THREE National Anthems . . . The USA, Canada and Israel, while each of the National Flags were held HIGH . . . REALLY set the mood.
Since I orchestrated the agenda, I chose to speak first, pointing out that the most important people involved in this HISTORIC RIDE were the people who got on their BIKES, followed in chase vehicles, and made all of this happen. I chose to speak only for a brief moment, making sure to drive this one point home. DOING NOTHING IS NOT AN OPTION.
Joyce Kaufman was stellar as our emcee. Nonie Darwish gave a tremendous speech framing the true purpose and importance of the Pledge Ride. Bishop A. D. Beacham of the Pentecostal Church delivered a clarion call for the world to pay attention to the perils that surround us.
Several members of the Israeli government and retired Israeli IDF Colonel Shalom Almog delivered their heartfelt gratitude, reemphasizing the importance of this event.
Then there was Gary Burd, who in very few words congratulated everyone who participated, also expressing the importance of this RIDE and why we will continue to do it.
FINALLY . . . THE REASON FOR THE RIDE:
After Gary Burd stepped down from the podium, newlyweds . . . Wayne Markman and Betsy Blume took to the stage, waiting a few minutes while the ICONIC and incredibly beautiful song of Jerusalem of Gold performed by the late Ofra Haza was played before Wayne and Betsy – TOGETHER – delivered the KADDISH.
And following the KADDISH . . . came the mournful tune of Taps, played by a LONE Trumpeter, standing in the crowd facing the podium, when upon completion, Andy Reti delivered the short Pledge where at the culmination he asked all in attendance to repeat the simple TWO WORD Pledge . . . NEVER AGAIN. And it was over.
The people on the RIDE were so pumped with the event from start to finish, that they already decided they were all in for the next Pledge Ride, which will be held in two cities on route to the culmination third city being Boca Raton.
We will hold this RIDE during the second week of September 2014 before the Jewish High Holidays. And as arrangements will be made, there will be more information as the RIDE develops.
IN THE MEANTIME . . . Anne, Stryker and I toured more of the American Heartland during the EIGHTEEN days we spent on the road than most people will ever see in a lifetime, paying special attention to the way HEARTLAND people lived their lives.
AND IT CHANGED BOTH OF US . . . It changed our feeling for America, and for America’s future in ways that I will write about in my next editorials.
In the meantime . . . after 18 days in the saddle, and on the road, travelling in scorching heat, through some horrific rain, sleeping in some less than stellar hotels only because they allowed us to have Stryker there . . . we can’t begin to express our joy to be home.
BEFORE ENDING THIS EDITORIAL . . . I MUST THANK all the people who contributed financially to help make this event happen, allowing us to complete this Pledge, and set the stage for next year.
I also want to thank Lou DeVuono of the Canadian HHR (Heroes Highway Ride) who agreed to Captain the RIDE all the way to Oklahoma City. As usual, he did a great job bringing us safely along the long route.
TO CONCLUDE . . . whether you contributed financially, or registered for the RIDE, or joined in as a spectator . . . please make this PLEDGE in your heart, because that’s where it belongs.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov