MEIGS COUNTY — When Ret. Chief Master Sgt. James Bailey travels to his final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery, he will not travel alone.
WWII veteran and longtime Meigs County resident Bailey passed away Feb. 11, 2018, and on Friday, July 20, his family and members of several bike clubs and veterans groups will accompany Bailey’s remains on their journey.
Arlington National Cemetery was established during the Civil War as a United States military cemetery. Today the 624 acre cemetery is the final resting place for over 200,000 veterans, active duty service members, and their families.
Bailey served in the Army in WWII and later in the Navy, and Air Force. He retired from the military in 1966, and during his career and received numerous awards and decorations.
As his son Clinton and daughter-in-law Carissa Hill Bailey and several grandchildren leave the White-Schwarzel Funeral Home in Coolville at 5 a.m. on July 20, they will be joined by Meigs County Bikers, Revalatorz, Los Cuervos, Justice Riders and Red Knights. Members of Pomeroy American Legion Drew Webster Post 39, Middleport Feeney Bennett Post 128, Tuppers Plains VFW Post 9053, Racine American Legion Post 602, Meigs County DAV Chapter 53, and Meigs County Honor Flight Advocate JoAnna Newsome will travel with the group by car.
Organizers of the ride met at Summerfields in Chester Tuesday evening to finalize preparations for the trip. Rich Wamsley from the Los Cuervos Bike Club, Meigs County Bikers Association president Patrick Aeiker, and Clinton Bailey coordinated the event that will include bikers from Revalatorz, Justice Riders, Red Knights, and “bikers from any club that want to join in.”
Wamsley lead the meeting and advised all participants to “be ready to leave at 5 a.m. and have your gas tank full.”
He also reminded riders that safety was the main concern, to be on the lookout for deer, and to remember to bring helmets to meet requirements in states through which they will be traveling.
With scheduled stops in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Cumberland and Frederick, Maryland, the group plans to arrive in Arlington for the 3 p.m. ceremonies.
Aeiker shared that what makes being part of the biking community in Meigs so great is, “We all work together to help people and to honor our veterans. So many clubs don’t associate with other groups, but we support each other, we support our veterans, and try to help our community.”
“Each bikers group has one big ride each year, and we all made a pack earlier this year to support each other with each groups biggest ‘run’”, Wamsley said, citing the Christmas toy collection as an example. “Last year, we all worked together and were able to provide gifts to 174 kids. We are all brothers and sisters working together.”
Asked why a run for Bailey’s internment, Revalatorz member Jack Williams responded with, “My dad was a WWII veteran, and I do this to honor all veterans.”
The run will leave White-Schwarzel Funeral Home in Coolville at 5 a.m. on July 20.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.