TOPEKA (KSNT)– Veterans across Northeast Kansas are remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice after the annual “Freedom is Not Free” motorcycle ride.
The ride started at Gage Park in Topeka with more than 50 people making the journey. The money raised goes towards adding to the Veterans Memorial in Gage Park, but the event also honors those who fought for our freedom.
“It’s really important to remember everybody,” Darlene Lillo said, the secretary of the Gage Park Memorial.
The Veterans Memorial is a long-standing symbol in the Topeka community. It reminds people of those who fought for our freedom. The bike ride also does more than just raise money, it educates the community.
“Not only the young people, but everybody in the town remember that we wouldn’t be here today,” Lillo said. “We wouldn’t be able to take these rides if it wasn’t for our military.”
The veterans who participate all have a reason, like Ron Zink who is a Vietnam veteran.
“We had several major battles that we were involved in and lost quite a number of troops,” Zink said.
Zink said the Vietnam Veterans Organization reflects on those who have fallen, through a symbolic table at certain events.
“Right now there’s 1,600 Vietnam veterans still unaccounted for,” Zink said.
The money raised from the motorcycle ride will go towards adding a Vietnam monument at the Veterans Memorial in Gage Park. Through this, Zink hopes people remember the sacrifices that were made.
“People need to just go back and look at history to see that the people who served in Vietnam did one hell of a job for what they were allowed to do,” Zink said.
They are still raising the amount of money needed to add the monument, so there is not a timeline on when the project will be completed yet.