10th Annual Iwo Jima Survivors Victory Ride Another Success

Sarah DiMeo
May 19, 2019 - 3:35 pm

Steve Parker/WTIC News/Talk 1080


(Hartford, Conn./WTIC) - Gary Roy and his wife Marianne have each been volunteering with organizations to honor U.S. military veterans since 1995. Ten years ago, they observed that the public's attention to World War II veterans was beginning to wane. Together, they set to work on organizing an annual motorcycle ride, the World War II Victory Ride: Operation Thank You. The goal was to give veterans the thanks and the attention that they have earned.

Sunday, May 19, marked the 10th Annual Iwo Jima Survivors Victory Ride, which took place at VFW Post 511, 41 Veterans Drive, New Britain. The annual event is not strictly for motorcycle riders; it is a day of family fun with a Poker Run, 50/50 raffles, post-ride luncheon and a DJ. Roy encourages the public to remember that each year there are less and less World War II veterans. The annual victory ride is an opportunity to meet them and talk to them, not only about their service, but about their lives. Veterans attending the event are honored with medallions and various awards to thank them for their service.

This year's turnout was another success. The goal is to raise money to build a Gold Star Family Memorial Monument in Connecticut, which was designed by Hershel Woody Williams of the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation (http://hwwmohf.org/). Roy stresses that it is no longer Gold Star Mothers; it is Gold Star Families. The Monument will give families a place to go, feel comfortable and honor the soldiers in their lives. All proceeds from today's event will go to the construction of the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument.

The Roys have met and gotten to know many Gold Star Families over the years. They have attended funerals and wakes of veterans who have become their close friends, having even been invited to Arlington National Cemetary in Arlington, Va. The Victory Rides plan to continue for years to come, and Roy invites World War II veterans to be part of the journey. "We want as many as possible to be on our committee. We don't want to do this without them. We want them to be a part of it," said Gary Roy.

Questions, as well as to volunteer or become a sponsor, contact Victory Ride Chairman Gary Roy at SOSIwoJima@yahoo.com. Gold Star Families Memorial Monument Connecticut is also on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GoldStarFamiliesMemorialMonumentConnecticut/)