Military honored in motorcycle ride from House of Harley

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- One of the first formal events of Harley-Davidson's 110th Anniversary Celebration was held at the House of Harley in Greenfield. It was "Military Day" at the dealership -- and there was a public motorcycle ride to the veterans' hospital.

Leading the way on the ride was Gary Wetzel.

"I don't relive the war.  It's there, it happened, it's traumatic.  Every night I go to bed, I take the war off, and every morning I get up, I put the war on, but I don't let it consume my life," said Wetzel.

Wetzel's helicopter was shot down while he served in Vietnam. The survivors came under heavy enemy fire. Wetzel lost his arm but continued to man his machine gun and help other injured soldiers.

"I was trying to save my buddy, my pilot and a greened went off about 4 feet behind me and caught me pretty good," said Wetzel.

Wetzel received the highest military decoration -- the Medal of Honor -- from President Lyndon Johnson.

"Every time I wear that blue ribbon, I wear it for everybody.  I'm just a caretaker.  Just a soldier doing a job," said Wetzel.

Hundreds of motorcyclists paid $25 apiece to follow Wetzel in the ride. The money raised went to the Fisher House of Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker took part in the ride. He says Harley-Davidson and military veterans both symbolize freedom.

"Freedom, endowed by our creator, defined by our constitution, but  defended each and every day by the men and women who proudly wear the uniform of these united states," said Gov. Walker.

Thursday is "Law Enforcement Day" at the House of Harley. On Friday, it's "Firefighter Day."

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.