“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.”
— Thomas Paine
For many, the Fourth of July is spent celebrating our nation’s freedom and honoring our forefathers for the sacrifices they made to ensure our independence as a nation.
But one community in Marion County not only honored our forefathers, but our fathers and grandfathers for their service in the armed forces and dedication to freedom. The theme of this year’s Mannington’s Old-fashioned Fourth of July Celebration Monday was honoring and recognizing veterans of the U.S. Armed Services.
Starting with a parade that led through downtown Mannington and to Hough Park, patriotism was on display as past and present soldiers made the parade route by foot, trolley, car, Humvee and even motorcycle.
Chris Smith, a member of the West Virginia Road Hawgs, was one of those veterans making the route by bike — a completely customized Suzuki Intruder 1500. Smith wouldn’t have been hard to miss — the custom paint job for his motorcycle resembles a flag draped across the metal. In small tears in the flag, the iconic black reflective rock with engraved names represents the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.