Riding Colors

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Chief Petty Officer Nichols stands ready to talk about the Harley riders' visit to Station Point Allerton and discuss what the American flag means to him.

Written by 3rd Class Petty Officer Luke Clayton

We see it everywhere; on houses, people, clothes, cars, and uniforms. Some of us salute it. Some of us consider it a part of the routine. The American flag is everywhere, and one organization is literally taking their love for Old Glory to a new level.

The Harley Owners Group from Framingham, Mass., (Metrowest HOG) is full of everyday people who have joined together in a common bond: motorcycles.

Many Metrowest HOG members see the American flag as a symbol of freedom. “The flag is everything,” said Shannon Seile, the president of HOG. “It stands for me being able to ride my Harley wherever I want whenever I want.”

The folks from Metrowest HOG are participating in a national effort to hoist flags from a military unit in every state. Each HOG group from each state will ride to meet each other, handing the flag off to a another group. The event is geared toward raising money for military veterans.

Last week, the rumbling of Harley motorcycles could be heard miles away from Coast Guard Station Point Allerton in Hull, Mass. Covered from head to toe in leather and motorcycle patches, the Metrowest HOG riders greeted Chief Petty Officer Robert Nichols, the station’s executive petty officer.

“I told them we would be honored to do it,” said Nichols.

Nichols shook the hand of each rider and all began walking down the distant pier. Carefully, the riders gathered on the back of a 47-foot Motor Life Boat and crowded around a Coast Guardsman who reverently raised their cherished flag. Flashes fired off like a 21-gun salute and riders raised their hands to their hearts.

“It represents freedom to me,” said Nichols. “I’m honored by it. I think about heritage, I think of the history behind it, the sacrifices it made in the past and the sacrifices that are being made for it right now. When I look at the flag, I just feel pride.”