Ride of Pride: Memorial Day Parade

by | May 24, 2023 | Attractions

For the 21st year, the Daimler Truck North America truck manufacturing plant in Cleveland, North Carolina is pleased to announce the Ride of Pride Parade on Friday, May 26th.  This event is to support the military and while not open to the public inside the plant, you will surely see these beautiful trucks with their work of art leaving the plant for Washington, DC that morning sometime after 8:00 a.m.

Sandy Whitley, Executive Assistant to Plant Manager, Craig Redshaw recently reached out to me with excitement over these trucks.  “I am so proud of our trucks and our veterans” Sandy said.  “We have a committee that works hard every year to show our support for veterans everywhere.  All anyone must do is call us to reserve one of the trucks for an event.”  One such event is at the North Carolina Transportation Museum where a truck will be on display for July 1 and July 4 celebrations.

Recently I was headed in towards Spencer and ran into a group of motorcyclists riding for a military event being escorted by law enforcement with blue lights flashing and I saw the truck Daimler will be keeping named “Pointer” which is a Wester Star 57X.  It’s all about the anniversary of Montford Point Marines when the Desegregation Bill was signed in the military.  It is a beautiful site with interesting pictures of Marines depicted on the truck.   I, of course, pulled aside and watched the procession in honor of the military.

The other two beautiful trucks are the ‘Leaders’ truck which is a Freightliner Cascadia and recognizes influential leaders from past conflicts.  This beauty has a female commander on the side.  After the ride to Washington, DC this will go to MSR Transport.  The last truck will also be heading to a new location with Cargo Transport.   This truck is Wester Star 57X named ‘Black Out’ and rightfully so because it recognizes the Special Ops Forces in the military.  Daimler has an employee contest that decides the design while the companies that purchase the trucks will usually have a contest that will choose a veteran at their business that will get to drive their truck for a year.

While these trucks were built for Memorial Day they have gone to a lot of events in North Carolina and will be blessed in a ceremony by Mount Olive Church before heading to Washington, DC.

The trucks have traveled to events so far at Childress Vineyards, coffee with veterans, they have assisted with wreaths at the V.A. Cemetery, work with Suicide Awareness, and they have attended events for Powles Funeral Home in Rockwell, North Carolina which is a huge supporter of our veterans.  A little-known fact is that Powles Funeral Home has a military museum inside that is amazing.  Make a note to add that on your bucket list.

Memorial Day History

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day because of decorating gravesites with flags, flowers, and wreaths, is in remembrance of those that have served our country and died in the line of duty.  The observance began May 30, 1868, to pay homage to all the Civil War soldiers.

Ohio Congressman at the time, James Garfield, made a speech at the first national commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery.  At the time there were 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.  Today there are roughly over 400,000 veterans and their eligible dependents buried there.

Congress passed a Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971.  At that time they designated Memorial Day was to be always remembered on the last Monday of each May.

At Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, you can find American flags placed on each gravesite.  The President or if not available, the Vice President, will participate in a ceremony and place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Daimler Trucks in Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day, this year, Monday, May 29th, 2023 at the Pentagon you can find the three trucks that were manufactured here in Rowan County at Daimler Truck North America truck manufacturing plant in Cleveland, North Carolina parked and on display for all of the world to see.  We should all be very proud to have these trucks not just representing Rowan County, but representing those that have given their all for us as citizens of the United States of America where we can live in the land of the free.

If you are interested in having the Daimler Truck come to a veteran event it may just be a phone call away.  Sandy Whitley shared the name of Mike Satterfield, 704-645-5000, as a contact to coordinate with for an event.  I strongly recommend you make that call well in advance of any events because there is no moss growing on this truck.  It stays booked!

The members that work hard and dedicate their time with Sandy on this project are Mike Satterfield, Joe Shumway, Darrell Plonk, Robert Osborne, George Hoffman, and Donald Stewart.  “We love and support all active, non-active, retired, and those Veterans that are no longer with us”.  Amen

This Memorial Day weekend… if you see a veteran tell them thank you for serving our country and for being willing to sacrifice themselves for our freedom.

More Information

You can check out the Veterans Services Office in Rowan County for more information on activities and support for our veterans locally at 704-216-8138.

Also, if you are a veteran and you are in a crisis situation you can dial “988” and Press 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line.  There you can find help for depression, thoughts of suicide, or just someone to help you think through a situation.

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About The Author

Janet Ruffin

I’m an adventurous soul that loves to interact with people everywhere I go. You might say I’ve never met a stranger! I look forward to discovering and sharing all the things Rowan County has to offer because it’s Your Rowan!