This year celebrates the 15th anniversary of Freightliner’s Ride of Pride program, and the 10th time Schneider has received one of the trucks, so the 2017 design was especially important. Employees at the Freightliner truck manufacturing plant in Cleveland, N.C., were asked to submit suggestions for a theme, and several recommended the idea of highlighting memorials from across the country that pay tribute to service men and women from all branches of the Armed Forces. In the end, 15 different memorials were selected to be featured on the truck driven by David Price; that’s in addition to the POW/MIA emblem and the Gold and Blue star insignias. Some of the memorials are more familiar than others, so here’s a recap:
1. This larger-than-life bronze sculpture became part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1993. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial pays tribute to American women who served in Vietnam. Featuring three
2. On the plaza in front of the New Jersey Vietnam Era Museum and Educational Center there is an actual UH-1D helicopter – known as a Huey – on display. The helicopter served two tours in Vietnam, and a team of volunteers composed mostly of veterans spent several years restoring the aircraft to its original condition. Like most Hueys used during the war, it logged thousands of flight hours, saved countless lives and provided daily support for troops.
3. In addition to the immediately recognizable curved spires of the U.S. Air Force Memorial (shown on the opposite side of the truck), the site also features a detailed statue of four members of the Honor Guard. The Air Force Honor Guard Creed ends with, “Representing every member, past and present, of the United States Air Force, I vow to stand sharp, crisp and motionless, for I am a ceremonial guardsman.”
4. After seeing the iconic photograph of the
5. Dedicated in 2016, the Montfort Point Marine Memorial pays tribute to the African-American
6. Erected in 1977 at Randolph Air Force Base in Schertz, Texas (near San Antonio), the Missing Man Monument honors past, present and future members of the U.S. Air Force who lost their lives defending their country. The monument features four aircraft in formation with exhaust trailing behind them; while three fly together, one flies alone to represent the departed.
7. Frederick Hart’s sculpture for the Three Servicemen Memorial, located on the Washington, D.C. mall, was designed to be a more traditional companion to the minimalist Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. As Hart explained it: “I see the wall as a kind of ocean, a sea of sacrifice that is overwhelming and nearly incomprehensible in the sweep of names. I place these figures upon the shore of that sea, gazing upon it, standing vigil before it, reflecting the human face of it, the human heart.”
8. The reflective black surfaces of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall chronologically list the names of more than 58,000 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Architect Maya Lin wanted visitors to see their own reflections on top of the names – bringing past and present together.
9. Three contrails of Air Force Thunderbirds in the “bomb burst” maneuver are depicted in the U.S. Air Force Memorial, which is in Arlington, Virginia on the grounds of Fort Myer. At the dedication ceremony, President George W. Bush said, “To all who have climbed sunward and chased the shouting wind, America stops to say: your service and your sacrifice will be remembered forever, and honored in this place by the citizens of a free and grateful nation.”
10. The plaque of the Merchant Marines Memorial on Columbia Island in Washington, D.C., states: "To the strong souls and ready valor of those men of the United States who in the Navy, the Merchant Marine and other paths of Activity upon the waters of the world have given life or still offer it in the performance of heroic deeds this monument is dedicated by a grateful people."
11. Located along the Illinois River in Marseilles, Illinois, the series of granite walls of the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial honor the men and women who lost their lives in conflicts from 1979 to today. It is the only memorial to honor the fallen while a conflict is still ongoing.
12. The Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas is the home to the Audie Murphy Memorial. Murphy, an Army veteran who became an actor in his later years, was one of the most decorated combat soldiers of World War II. He received every American combat award for valor available at the time of his service, including the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver and two Bronze
13. Arlington National Cemetery is the site of the Tomb of the Unknowns (or Unknown Solider). The back of the sarcophagus reads, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.” While the remains of unidentified World War I, World War II and Korean War soldiers are buried at the site, the Vietnam War soldier originally interred was later identified through DNA testing. That crypt remains empty today.
14. The Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., features 19 larger-than-life steel statues of soldiers representing each branch of the armed forces. The platoon is within triangular memorial walls that intersect a circular pool of remembrance, and they appear to be walking through the brush while on patrol.
15. Virginia is home to the 624-acre Arlington National Cemetery, which is the resting place for more than 400,000 veterans and their families. The land originally belonged to a step-grandson of George Washington, and prior to the Civil War it was willed to Robert E. Lee. It is the location of notable graves such as those of John F. Kennedy, Medgar Evers and Robert Todd Lincoln.
Watch this video featuring close-ups of the beautiful military artwork on the 2017 Ride of Pride truck, and hear why David named it “The American”:
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Have you seen the 2017 Ride of Pride truck or any other Ride of Pride trucks? What would you like to see featured on any future Ride of Pride trucks?