East Texans celebrate Party in the Pines - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texans celebrate Party in the Pines

A tribute to iron horses, and to all those who have given their lives in the defense of our nation, was all a part of an annual memorial day weekend motorcycle rally in Longview. Party in the pines.

"The commonality is the veterans and saluting out active military and those that has already served," says event chairman Rodney Blackwell.

Motorcycle clubs from all over East Texas converged on the Longview fairgrounds. Many clubs dominated by veterans.

"It gives me a chance to honor my fallen brothers and sisters that gave their life for our country and those that just served. Past present and future," says army veteran Jimmy Qualls of Beckville.

Bike contests, unique designs, colorful characters. For 8 years the rally has been a source of fun , music , and camaraderie, as veterans gather to celebrate memorial day weekend together.

"Memorial weekend is that time that we reflect back on those that have provided for us our freedoms as well as look forward to those that are going to guarantee it," Blackwell says.

For some it is a time to remember friends that never came home from foreign battlefields.

"We remember at this time we remember those that didn't come back. Its to honor those that are still there," says Vietnam veteran Willie Fortier.

And observe the true meaning of memorial day.

"It is the veterans sacrifice that makes what we're able to do both here as a rally and here as a country its what they're done that gives us that freedom," says Blackwell.

And tomorrow a motorcycle parade is scheduled to ride at noon through downtown Longview.

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