CALDWELL, Idaho — The 12th annual Fallen Soldier Memorial Torch ride began in Eugene, Oregon and this month-long journey will finish up at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C.
This ride carries a flame across the country while making pit stops to honor gold star families and the sacrifices their sons and daughters have made.
“As we travel we have scheduled visits with gold star families that have lost a loved one and we visit those families," said Warren Williamson of the Fallen Soldier Memorial Torch Ride. "We spend an hour with each family, we present them with a memorial plaque and a memorial portrait to remind them we haven’t forgotten."
The ride made one of their first stops in Caldwell where they paid tribute to the families of Army PFC Gage Thornton and Army SFC Dustin Ard a member of the special forces.
We didn't have the opportunity to speak with these families, but we did talk with the mother of Army SSG Octavio Herrera who was killed in 2013.
"It’s really wonderful to just realize how people remember and appreciate," said Angelica Herrera who was honored on a previous ride. "I can tell you one thing he had a special love for the Army, we as a family realized that he was going to make the Army his career."
This journey across the country will include stops in 18 states and they will visit 75 gold star families.
"So this is really the beginning of our 28-day ride we do it because we have a love for these families," said Williamson. "It's just so important and so necessary for all of us to say their names out loud and honor their sacrifice and their service."
The ride will end on August 8 when they make it into Washington D.C. At that point, they will extinguish the flame in the Arlington National Cemetery as part of the closing ceremonies for the ride.