PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — From California to New York City, parents who have lost their children in combat are biking across the country to honor the country’s fallen heroes.
It’s a three-month bike ride that’s had its emotional moments, but these parents say it’s helped them stay connected to their late sons and daughters in a way that’s difficult to explain.
For Kaye Jordan and Mike Perich, their bikes and their journey from San Diego to Ground Zero are critical to keeping their sons’ memory alive.
“Your sons won’t be forgotten,” Perich said. “Our sons and daughters won’t be forgotten because we know that if you can ride with us, you’ll never forget the experience.”
“It means so much to get out there and ride for our kids. And we have our good days, we have our bad days,” Jordan said. “Some days are just overwhelming when you see things that remind you of your child.”
The Gold Star parents started their ride on June 11. They’ll pedal over 3,700 miles in 13 states, making stops along the way to meet other Gold Star parents.
It’s not a group they ever wanted to be a part of, but to have another person who knows their loss makes them feel normal.
“I miss him every day, and this journey has helped me to stay really close to him,” Perich said.
Perich is from Monaca. His son passed in 2008, fighting the War on Terror.
“I talk to him every day, that’s what I do,” he said. “I couldn’t have made it across the country without his support.”
Jordan is from Texas. She lost her son on his first deployment with the Army.
“It’s hard to grasp, still to this day, almost seven years later,” she said. “There’s really no understanding of why that happened.”
The “Cycle to Celebrate” is made possible by Legacies Alive and by the tenacity of the parents who have traveled from coast to coast.
Their journey will end in New York City on Sept. 11.
“There was so much loss there, and we’ve experienced that same loss as families,” Jordan said.
Jordan and Perich have also been selected to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. during their “Cycle to Celebrate” journey.