With each passing month, the war in Iraq begins to resemble the past Vietnam War. The U.S. military seems to be at a stand still, taking unnecessary casualties, while the U.S. civilian government practices nation building without an instructional manual. Now please don’t get me wrong, I love my country very much and would willingly give my life if called upon to do so in order to keep her free. However, military action controlled by politics has always spelled doom and caused wasted precious life throughout our past history.
With the presidential elections lumbering towards us this November, both President Bush and presidential candidate John Kerry will have many serious questions directed their way, some about Iraq. How they answer these tough questions should help define how we as individual citizens will vote in November. I guarantee you that special interest groups are already hard at work, striving to get their person elected or to remain in office. The active force can only voice their opinion through voting, but all veterans can voice their opinions openly, whether in rallies or in writing. So I challenge all veteran riders and non-riders to get involved now, lead don’t be led and speak for our active brothers and sisters who must remain silent, but are in harms way today!
I will now get off my soap box for the moment, but I’m far from done. I would like to continue with my ongoing journey of introducing and sharing another veteran-related motorcycle web site and club. The Military Veterans Motorcycle Club began its existence in the year 2000, with its first location being in the state of Virginia. The club was started to support a group of veteran riders, who wanted to find and foster the spirit that was there while in service. Artful Dodger was supportive and kind enough to provide me with the following interview responses.
CC: Is Military Veterans Motorcycle Club a national club? If so, where is the headquarters located and in which states do you have active chapters?
Artful Dodger: We are both national and international with the mother chapter in Virginia.
CC: What message does your club want to send out to fellow veterans and the community?
Artful Dodger: We support veteran causes and biker issues that tend to attempt to limit our individual freedoms. We also support other organizations that share the same principles.
CC: Who leads the national organization, a President or Director? What are the qualifications and election procedures?
Artful Dodger: We have a National President and a National Executive who guides the organization. Each local chapter has its own set of officers. We are guided strongly by our bylaws.
CC: Any exclusions motorcycles, ages or gender?
Artful Dodger: Every member must have a motorcycle that is 450cc and above and an honorable discharge. These two items meet the basic qualifications for consideration of membership.
CC: Does your club have any special rules the members MUST follow?
Artful Dodger: All our members are given a copy of the bylaws to learn and abide by.
CC: What is the cost to become a member?
Artful Dodger: There are initial costs to cover patches and processing. Monthly dues are set at the chapter level.
CC: Do you have a special club patch or badge?
Artful Dodger: Yes, it is a three piece set with a top rocker, center eagle and a bottom rocker.
CC: How do you become a member?
Artful Dodger: We do not recruit, so a prospective candidate must approach one of our members or the club itself. We have a hang-a-round and prospecting phase that teaches all our prospective members the proper protocols within the motorcycle community.
CC: Do you have any local or national famous club members?
Artful Dodger: Not in the popular sense. All our members have given much in service to this country and the world that they are all famous in our eyes.
CC: Any annual events you sponsor?
Artful Dodger: We support and attend many events throughout the year. We also sponsor local veterans events and tend to support individual charities that fit into our way of life.
CC: Do you have both open and closed events and activities?
Artful Dodger: Yes, we announce which ones are open.
CC: In the last 12 months, what single event displayed the essence of your club?
Artful Dodger: Our chapter in Kansas supported a program of motorcycle safety that was endorsed by the Governor of Kansas.
CC: What is the major intent of your web site?
Artful Dodger: It is used as an educational tool so that non-members can learn about us before contacting one of our members. We also use it as an informational forum between our members in fairly generic areas of club information.
CC: What else should I share with our readers about your club?
Artful Dodger: Our membership is 100 percent veterans who ride. We support veterans and bikers causes. We have very strong bonds with each other and strive to only offer membership to those who share our same feelings.
CC: I offer our thanks to you for your interview regarding the Military Veterans Motorcycle Club and your service to our country. I’m sure many veteran riders see the erosion of not only our veteran rights, but rights as a rider. I do believe the near future will require the joining of many veteran rider organizations in order to achieve a strong and powerful voice, which needs to be heard at the local, state and national level. Hopefully the current leadership within the various existing motorcycle clubs will step up to the challenge of supporting a national movement, setting aside minor differences and opinions.
Peace through strength and power through voting.