Wounded Warriors ride through county

COUNTY — Easley once again proudly participated in the “Honoring Their Service” ride as part of the Wounded Warriors’ annual trip to Keowee Key on Monday, June 18. The event honors Marines and acknowledges their sacrifice on behalf of all Americans.
Heralding from Camp LeJeune, N.C., event participants met at the J.B. “Red” Owens Complex at 2 p.m. Monday and prepared for their 3 p.m. departure. Along with members of the Easley Police Department, more than 400 vehicles – motorcycles, Jeeps, and Hummers – escorted the honored warriors down U.S. 123.
Roughly 40 Marines – both wounded warriors and active duty service men and women – were proudly escorted through Easley, Liberty, Norris, Central and Clemson then through Seneca to their destination at Keowee Keys, where they will spend the three day event participating in programs designed to offer these courageous men and women some well-earned rest and relaxation.
“Honoring Their Service” is a way to show these Marines that local communities of Americans really do care about and appreciate what they have done and continue to do. This is precisely what the event is all about.
Several groups of people from the Pickens County community clustered along stretches of Highway 123 to show their support and honor our service men and women. One congregation of supports stood on the U.S. 123 overpass in Easley, by the Center Point shopping center, taking photographs of the motorcade as it passed.
Allen Swords, a member of the English Department faculty at Clemson University, said that because he missed last year’s event, he made it a point to be in Clemson for this year’s honor ride.
“My father, Nelson, was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps from 1967 to 1973. I’ve had respect for the Corps for as long as I can remember. They are the best of us,” said Swords. “All of the patrons at the Clemson McDonald’s on Hwy 123 had a great view of the motorcade. Even though I was only a spectator, it was terrific to see so many other people celebrating these US Marines.”
Community businesses, like the new Easley McDonald’s flashed welcome banners on their electric signs, and like a scene straight from a Norman Rockwell painting, several children waved small American Flags as a way of saying thank you.
The “Honoring Their Service” event began at Keowee Key several years ago when a partnership of sorts was forged between Keowee Key residents and Roger C. Pearce Hospital. Each day is filled with fun and relaxing activities for the Marines so they can regroup and decompress.
On Tuesday evening, the Marines were part of a veteran’s service held in Seneca, and on Wednesday they will be honored again with a special dinner. On Thursday, prior to their return trip to N.C., the service men and women will make a special stop at Clemson University where they will get to experience a run down the hill while their names are displayed on the Jumbotron.
“It’s so easy to feel and be removed from what’s going on in any of the recent (current) theatres of war,” said Swords. “Giving a little something of ourselves — even if its only our time, our cheers, and our clapping — should be something we do more often.”