BEDFORD, Va. – Hundreds of bikers from across the country roared through southwest Virginia this week. From the Omni Homestead Resort in Bath County, father-son Nascar legends Kyle and Richard Petty took the pack next to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.
Behind the scenes of Kyle Petty’s Charity Ride Revival, there was a special tribute quietly paid to veterans. Petty told 10 News many of the bikers are Vietnam war veterans. The stop was a moment to pay tribute to the fallen, and an opportunity to say “thank you” to those that served.
“I think Veterans, a lot of times, feel like ‘we fought, but nobody pays attention that we fought. Nobody acknowledges it anymore.’ I think this is the coming together in those generations in a lot of ways,” Petty said.
In a surprise ceremony, Virginia Military Institute cadets paid their respects to veterans and the children’s charity Victory Junction they were raising money for by presenting the colors.
“To have the color guard from VMI be here, it was so special,” Petty said.
Major Fick, who helped present the colors, said the cadets were eager for the opportunity.
“It was really amazing. We got to present the colors to a very honorable charity,” Fick said. “It was just an honor to become a part of it.” the Petty’s have a special tie to Virginia Military Institute. Petty said his brother-in-law had five generations of his family attend VMI.
“My son went to VMI for two years before he was in a motorcycle wreck,” Petty said. In addition to raising money for charity, Petty said that moment at the D-Day Memorial was a moment that built connections between brothers separated only by generations of service.
“I think that connection and that bond between a 75-year-old that we have riding for us, or a 70-year-old who had a father was in World War II, to see these kids and know that spirit is still here, and see what makes America great, I think that’s an emotional moment,” Petty said.