Libby Worden

Read Daily SitReps (2024)


2024 National Veterans Awareness Ride (NVAR)

Last year my husband and I traveled with NVAR across country from California to D.C. for events surrounding the Memorial Day weekend at our nation’s capital. My husband Wayne Worden, the chaplain of the NVAR ride to D.C., occasionally prayed at many of the planned stops at veteran memorials along the route. Each memorial site was moving in its own way, fostering a somber ambiance as we remembered veterans. Whether they perished in the fight for freedom or returned and were later reunited with their fellow soldiers. My heart was filled with honor and respect for their sacrifice.

On our return trip to California, we stopped at Gettysburg to see The Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama and walk the battlefield. I didn’t realize at the time that Memorial Day took its beginnings from those who naturally gathered to remember their lost loved ones that had fought and died at The Battle of Gettysburg.

We climbed a rise to look out over a portion of the battlefield. I sensed the most solemn atmosphere. As far as the eye could see were a myriad of statues, monuments and cannons, all memorials to those who fought there. My breathing was shallow, making it difficult to speak. But what is there to say. The tragedy of lives lost on this field, numbering over 51,000 during the battle that lasted three days from July 1-3, 1863.

The town of about 2,400 people were left to bury some 7,000 bodies and 3,000 horses that were left on the battlefield. On November 19, 1863, the cemetery was dedicated as The Gettysburg National Cemetery, which was where Lincoln spoke these familiar words (an excerpt from The Gettysburg Address):

“…we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us:

  • that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion
  • that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain
  • that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…”

The civil war raged on until April 1865. Estimates of lives lost ranges from 600,000 to 620,000. That’s equal to the total lives lost during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.

In 1866, a year after the conclusion of the Civil War, is it any wonder various communities, cities, and states sponsored memorial events in both the south (where many soldiers were buried) and the north. In 1868, Gen. Logan ordered graves at his post be decorated “with the choicest flowers of springtime.” Logan went on to proclaim,

“We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

This was just one of hundreds of unnamed memorial events that took place across the country and for years to come. It wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day became a national holiday on May 30th. It was later moved to the fourth Monday in May. And, in 2000, began the National Moment of Remembrance, asking people to stop for a ‘minute of silence’ at 3:00 pm on Memorial Day, to remember those who died while in military service. 

NVAR rides each year with the fervent purpose: to remember. To remember those who lost their lives, to not forget those missing in action, and to remember those who fought and returned—many with lasting scares, both physical and emotional.

Also, NVAR encourages the returning veterans with the knowledge that their sacrifice is still appreciated. NVAR’s earnest desire is for the next generations to not regard Memorial Day as a three-day holiday, but as a day we remember all veterans. And, in Lincoln’s words, “…be dedicated to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced…” The freedoms of “liberty and justice for all.”

Thank a Veteran today,

Libby Worden

Go to 2024 Day One Report

3 thoughts on “Ride Prelude (2024)”

  1. Thank you ALL for your sacrifice and service to this great Nation.

    I learned about NVAO when I worked at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia (2013-2018). There is nothing like the sound of a Harley, let alone many Harleys driving up the lane at that VA!

    While I would love to see a crowd to wave you through as you come to Morgantown, I have always been the only person because people are away on their holiday trips.

    I hope to be standing along I-68 East at Exit 7 in Morgantown, West Virginia on Thursday, May 24 as you all ride east to D.C.

    Be safe!
    Daughter of World War II Navy Signalman 3/c
    Morgantown, WV

    The LORD goes before you…He is your rear guard.
    Isaiah 52:12


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