Annual Permian Basin Ride to Remember
Memorial Day in the Permian Basin means it was time for the annual Ride to Remember, starting at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Midland.
“This is not a parade,” Navy veteran Jim Basse said. “It’s for the guys who didn’t come home. Mainly for the guys over on that [Vietnam memorial] wall, but for everybody from World I on. And that’s why we do it, to remember them on Memorial Day.”
Hundreds of Permian Basin motorcycle riders met Monday morning for a ceremony honoring those who gave their lives serving the United States.
Everyone then mounted their bikes and rode through Odessa and Midland, and then up to Andrews.
For many it was a personal tribute.
“I’m riding for a friend of mine that was killed in Vietnam,” Basse said. “I grew up with Nelson. The last time I saw him he was in a hospital in Washington D.C. He’d stepped on a mine. He ended up going back and getting killed over there. So that’s who I’m riding for today.”
"My father was a pilot in the Air Force,” motorcycle rider Roger “Doc” Siegel said. “He went down with his plane in 1960.”
“Charles Frederick Armentrout, he was a cousin of mine who died in Cambodia in 1970,” local re-enacter Allen Armentrout said. “Lots and lots of guys who enlisted or got drafted were sent overseas and would never see their families again.”
This was the 21st annual Permian Basin Ride to Remember, and it carries the same weight every year.
“It means everything,” Basse said. “I spent 20 years in the Navy. I came home without a scratch. Those guys didn’t make it. They’re not like me, they don’t get a chance to grow old.”