Veterans enjoy the camaraderie of other veterans because who better would understand their experiences, their feelings, and their lives. There is absolutely no question that a tour in the military changes life forever. I have personally been out of the Marine Corps for better than 30 years, but I still carry with me the pride, the Marine-specific lingo, and I am certain that I always will. I’ve got a set of dress blues hanging in my closet, for crying out loud!
Almost every veteran can attest to the same life-changing experience. That’s why we need the Veteran-specific groups out there. Veterans depend on groups like the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, and others for support in their handling of various veteran benefits issues. When filing a claim with the VA, these organizations can and will be very beneficial to the veteran in working through the red tape and the maze of government rules and regulations. No veteran should attempt to file a claim without the benefit of professional guidance as that effort almost always ends in frustration and even great time delays. And, we know the delays are already long enough! If you need the assistance of one of these groups, the Regional Office staff can give you telephone numbers and contact information and you may also look in the telephone directory for a representative near to you.
In like manner, veterans enjoy riding their bikes with other veterans. There too, a vet can find the group which will most closely match their own veteran experience. These groups not only provide an environment for a greater riding experience but also provide a place to continue the brotherhood of past military tours. While not limited to these only, these are out there for the veteran:
In Country Vets is a group of Vietnam veterans who all served at least one tour in Country Vietnam.
The Legion Riders is made up of American Legion members who also ride bikes. This group is fairly new and is growing rapidly.
Brotherhood of Veterans Association is also a very active group of riders who share the military experience. Most, if not all of these, are “vets helping vets” and welcome those who need their assistance.
And there are others who are specific to their own military tours of duty. Qualifying for admission to these groups may vary from organization to organization, so check them out. You’ll see their vests, jackets, and patches at most biker gatherings. Do not be too timid to go up and shake a hand and ask questions. All that I have talked to are very open to the inquiries.
Veterans need veterans. Get involved with any or as many of these groups as possible. All of these provide great information about rides, benefits, laws, and other very important veteran issues. Veterans, like many other groups, can share the cry: United we stand and divided we fall. Get involved, even from the seat of your bike and know your rights.
By Roger Kinard