We gather the first Sunday in May to celebrate the lives and good times enjoyed with our brother and sister riders who have passed on ahead of us.
The Freedom Memorial Wall ride and ceremony is one of the most moving and sincere events I have ever been a part of, and it draws riders and family members from a five-state radius to our store to honor and pay their respects.
The Freedom Memorial Wall was erected at Smokin’ Harley-Davidson by our HOG Chapter, our staff and other members of our community. This remembrance, the first of its kind in the nation, honors the lives of family, friends, and loved ones to whom the joy of riding motorcycles was an important part of their life.
Each year, names of riders who are no longer with us will be added to this memorial. The names of motorcyclists may be submitted by family members or friends. The Freedom Memorial Wall is a celebration of motorcycling regardless of brand affiliation. This celebration signifies that the brotherhood of riders goes beyond life. We start the day with a ride in honor of those on the wall. It is police-escorted and usually takes about two hours to get back to the store. During the ceremony, a guest speaker will say a few words.
This year, we had the Mayor of Winston-Salem. Then each name on the wall is announced and family members and friend are welcome to come up to the wall and lay a rose on the name of their loved one. At the end of the ceremony a balloon is released for every name on the wall. This year, over 600 guests attended. Food and a live band are provided afterwards. The event is held for the biker community and not as a business venture. We do get residual shoppers and it is a very busy day for us at the store, so in this case, our ROI isn't measured in dollars but by what we do for the biker community.