ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 07-20-2013, 02:37 AM   #1
pnoman OP
Just Average
 
pnoman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Morgantown, WVa
Oddometer: 1,857
1st Road Trip with "New" Burgman 650 - Welcome Home Sgt Kiger, 69 years later

I posted this on the SE regional page and the scooter page. A reader asked me to post it here also, so here it is.

My first road trip on the "new" Burgman 650, and what a memorable one it was!! No photos of the bike since that was not the focus of this RR. I think you'll understand.

*******

MANNINGTON, W.Va. -- The remains of a West Virginia airman killed in Germany during World War II are coming home for burial.
Jerome Kiger of Mannington was a tail gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber that was shot down July 21, 1944. The remains of Kiger and another crewman were found in the plane's wreckage in Bavaria in 2008. Kiger's identity was confirmed by DNA testing.
The Dominion Post reports that Kiger will be buried with honors on July 21 at Mannington Memorial Park.
His family is inviting active-duty military personnel and veterans to attend the service.

********

Today, I had the most meaningful, fulfilling ride of my lifetime. I contacted the WV Patriot Guard, and they invited me to ride along with them to escort Sgt Kiger's casket from Pittsburgh airport (where it was arriving at noon today, Thursday 18 July 2013) back to his hometown of Mannington WV. I knew it was going to be a day full of emotions, but I never guessed there wasn't going to be a dry eye in my helmet several times during the ride. This was truly one of those days you remember forever.



Sgt Jerome Kiger




A group of about 15 riders met in Morgantown WV early this morning and rode up to Pittsburgh, where we met about 30-40 other riders. This is my first road trip since I bought a "new" 2007 Suzuki Burgman 650 with only 2,400 miles last week. Smooth, comfortable, and no problem keeping up with the "big bikes".




At noon, we headed over to the Pittsburgh Airport, where we waiting for Sgt Kiger's arrival. After a brief private ceremony with the family inside, the hearse exited the facility to begin Sgt Kiger's final journey home.
It was over 90 degrees, there were no restrooms, we had to wait over an hour, and not a single person complained about being there.




The Honor Guard preparing for Sgt Kiger's hearse to exit the building.
Talk about dedication - these guys are in full dress uniforms and gloves, and it is 90* + several more * on the pavement.




With two Pennsylvania State Troopers providing escort to the WV state line, we did not have to worry about traffic breaking up the line. Thanks guys!




The moment I wanted to catch - Sgt Kiger finally returning to West Virginia nearly 69 years after his fateful mission.




At the WV state line, we were escorted by two Sheriff cars and a Sheriff Can-Am (yes, with lights and siren!). We exited I-79 at the new downtown Fairmont exit where fire trucks and other emergency vehicles lead the procession the final 12 miles to Mannington. It was quite a sight!

It was the next 12 miles that were most emotional, as I watched families with small kids waving flags and saluting and holding their hands over their hearts as we passed by. At several small businesses along Rt 250, groups of employees stood outside the front door of their shops to pay respects to Sgt Kiger as he passed. Oncoming traffic came to a stop and sat parked on the road while the half-mile-long procession passed. People apparently stopped what they were doing to witness this moment in history and to pay their respects. Very moving.




At the funeral home, the Patriot Guard provided a flag line and stood quietly at attention as the casket was taken from the hearse into the funeral home. You could have heard a pin drop.

Wow - what a ride! It was truly an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to pay respects to Sgt Kiger, a young man who gave his life to protect the freedoms we all take for granted too often. He never had the opportunity to marry and have a family, but the crowd today shows he certainly has an extended family that appreciates the sacrifice he made 69 years ago.

SUNDAY - 21 JULY - 1:30 PM - Sgt Kiger will be taken from the Hutson Funeral Home (500 Main St, Mannington WV - Rt 250) to the Mannington Memorial Gardens for a formal military ceremony and burial, 69 years to the day he ws shot down over Germany. I'm planning to be there, and I'm sure there will be more tears.
__________________
Retired USAF MSgt - Bandsman & Paralegal
WV Historical Markers Project
My Website - Europe, Alaska, US Bike Rides
www.RidingWV.com
pnoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2013, 04:55 AM   #2
Rutabaga
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Southeast Lower Carolina
Oddometer: 724
Welcome home, Sgt Jerome Kiger, and Thank You for your sacrifice to all of us and those Europeans whose freedom you helped secure.

You are a good person pnoman.
Rutabaga is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-20-2013, 05:05 AM   #3
pnoman OP
Just Average
 
pnoman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Morgantown, WVa
Oddometer: 1,857
Video links to local news station - 2 reports

Part 1 - July 16 - http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=vi...rney-Home10814

Part 2 - July 19 - http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=vi...-69-Years10867
__________________
Retired USAF MSgt - Bandsman & Paralegal
WV Historical Markers Project
My Website - Europe, Alaska, US Bike Rides
www.RidingWV.com
pnoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2013, 02:57 PM   #4
pnoman OP
Just Average
 
pnoman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Morgantown, WVa
Oddometer: 1,857
Follow Up - Ceremony and Burial today

Sgt Kiger was buried today (Sunday 21 July 2013) between the graves of his mother and father, who planned ahead and saved that spot in case he was found. The town of Mannington (Population 2,000) was out in full force to show their appreciation for Sgt Kiger's sacrifice and to welcome him home.

Here are some photos of the day:





Front cover of service bulletin.





Inside cover with order of ceremony.






Downtown Mannington - residents lined the streets to say goodbye.





Farther down the street in downtown Mannington. Remember - the population of this town and surrounding area is only 2,000 and there were several hundred in the funeral procession.





At the local school, kids had stopped their baseball game to line up across from the funeral procession route.



There were many families like this with kids waving flags along the route.




Mannington Memorial Gardens - Patriot Riders are parked to the right. They helped lead the procession.





I did not take photos during the first part of the ceremony as it was rather formal. Here, though, Marcus Mooser (the German citizen who found the wreckage and reported it) is seen in the dark gray suit talking to the family.




At the end of the ceremony, one white dove was released to represent Sgt Kiger's spirit soaring to the skies. It can be seen flying near the middle of the photo.



Shortly after, a group of white doves was also released.




About half of the people parked below the ceremony site. It is a nice, peaceful setting.

Welcome Home and Rest In Peace, Sgt Kiger.


.
__________________
Retired USAF MSgt - Bandsman & Paralegal
WV Historical Markers Project
My Website - Europe, Alaska, US Bike Rides
www.RidingWV.com
pnoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2013, 04:46 PM   #5
Rutabaga
Studly Adventurer
 
Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Southeast Lower Carolina
Oddometer: 724
Thanks for documenting the ceremony today. We need to remember who paid for our freedoms.
Rutabaga is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2013, 05:20 PM   #6
crash!!!
Adventurer
 
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Fairbanks, Ak and Lewisville, Tx
Oddometer: 39
Very Cool.

thank you for documenting the return of this soldier!
crash!!! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2013, 03:01 AM   #7
pnoman OP
Just Average
 
pnoman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Morgantown, WVa
Oddometer: 1,857
Local news video of the ceremony:

http://www.wboy.com/story/22896112/w...after-69-years

I make a brief cameo appearance at 1:33 - I'm in the US Air Force dress blues in the background saluting as the casket passes.
__________________
Retired USAF MSgt - Bandsman & Paralegal
WV Historical Markers Project
My Website - Europe, Alaska, US Bike Rides
www.RidingWV.com
pnoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014