Photo by Wendy Howell.
The annual Nation of Patriots Tour returns to Williams July 13 for the national passing the flag event.
Motorcycle riders and supporters are raising awareness and seeking donations to assist veterans from the last three military campaigns who are in need. The tour passes through 48 states and draws in hundreds of motorcyclists. The riders carry the flag across the country for 110 days, passing it off between states.
The Nation of Patriots is a volunteer organization that raises money in each state through donations.
“All of the donations raised in Arizona will stay in Arizona and will be paid directly to the veterans who need it,” said Dan Smith, regional commander of the Arizona Nation of Patriots.
The group requests a minimum $5 donation to join the flag escort as it crosses the state.
The flag and riders will arrive in Williams from Kingman and Seligman, via Route 66, July 13 around 4 p.m. Riders will have a police escort upon arrival in town.
“Williams is the first and only Nation of Patriots city in the United States,” Smith said. “Bill, our national founder, will be in town Thursday … the first time Bill came to (Williams) a few years ago he was extremely impressed by the patriotism and the down home Americana. The patriotism and support that the people in Williams showed is what he had in mind when he set this up (Nation of Patriots). To him that was the epitome of what this rides all about.”
A memorial ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Memorial Park, followed by a dinner at 6 p.m. at Wild West Junction which will include music, auction, great food and a raffle.
“We would love to see the whole town of Williams at this event,” Smith said.
On July 14, the group will leave Williams for the Grand Canyon where several organizers will fly with the Flag in a Papillon helicopter where it will be flown over the Canyon.
After leaving the Canyon and Tusayan, riders will drive east along Highway 180 to Flagstaff, where they will hold a memorial ceremony at Wheeler Park in downtown Flagstaff between 1:15 – 1:30 p.m. The group will then have lunch and enjoy live music at the Museum Club. Later that day riders will depart for Twin Arrows Casino and Resort where another memorial ceremony will be conducted with Native veterans.
“A lot of the Native veterans that we don’t have contact with through our normal communications network will be there,” Smith said.
On July 15, riders will transport the flag to Winslow where they will stop at the Elk’s Lodge and will have breakfast in Winslow.
Riders and flag will depart Winslow for the next flag hand-off which takes place in Gallup, New Mexico.
The Nation of Patriots tour can be followed at www.arizonanationofpatriots.com.