When E. Bruce Heilman, a World War II veteran and chancellor of the University of Richmond in Virginia, decided to start his commemorative ride in Hawaii honoring all World War II veterans, the American Legion Riders answered the call. Heilman has now ridden in all 50 states, Hawaii being the 50th and the first stop on his commemorative ride. He is riding his 2007 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic across the United States visiting World War II memorials and significant points of interest as part of the 70th anniversary honoring the legacy of the Greatest Generation, culminating on Aug. 16, 2015, with an international wreath-laying ceremony at all cemeteries where World War II veterans are interred. American Legion Riders (ALR) across the country will be hosting and escorting Heilman during his trek.
Riders from Chapter 17, Hawaii, met Heilman at the Honolulu Airport on March 22, where “Enna” Anulao of Hawaiian Memorial Life Plan and the Spirit of ’45 Organization was picking him up upon his arrival from Guam. ALR 17 members escorted Heilman from the airport to his hotel in Honolulu and ensured he was settled in to rest up for his ride the following day. On the morning of March 23, the Riders again met up with Heilman at Cycle City Ltd. in Honolulu; there he was loaned a 2014 Ultra Classic for the day. Legion Rider and Department of Hawaii Senior Vice Commander Mike Soucie, and Post 17 Chaplain Mike Nelson, led the group of 13 bikes for the day. The first leg of our ride took us to the USS Missouri Battleship for a tour of this war-ending monument, where the treaty between the Allied Forces and Japan was signed on Aug. 16, 1945. We then headed out on a ride across Oahu to the Windward side of the island and back toward Honolulu to our final destination of the day, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. At Punchbowl, Heilman laid a wreath at the grave of his friend and colleague, the late senator and Medal of Honor recipient Daniel Inouye. Heilman commented that after today’s ride he has a sense of confidence in knowing that Legion Riders across the country will take good care of him during his travels for the rest of his commemorative ride.
For more information on the WWII 70th Anniversary Commemoration, go to: http://www.spiritof45.org/home0.aspx.