The Tour of Honor made adjustments to its annual motorcycle challenge ride to meet pandemic orders instituted in most states. Riders can still travel and visit as long as they follow rules of where they are going.

So as not to encourage riders to travel when they shouldn’t, Tour of Honor suspended the awarding of trophies this year, said rider Steven Seets from Dickinson County.

“They took away the desire for people to go out and put themselves in harm’s way,” he said. “And another reason was … if you go through a (high) COVID-19 area and you have an accident, then you’re taken medical attention away from somebody that could need it.”

Participation fees that would have gone to the purchase of trophies will instead be donated to Fisher House Foundation, Gold Star Family Memorial Foundation and Police and Fire: The Fallen Heroes. Each of the nonprofit organizations serve the same population that the memorials and monuments are designed for.

The annual Tour of Honor directs riders to seven monuments and memorials in each state, which were erected in memory or to honor military and first responders. Besides providing a reason to ride, Seets, who retired from the Army in 2008, said he is participating for his fourth time because it gives him a chance to reflect on the cost of American freedom and safety.

“Going to see the different memorials puts in perspective how many people from the small communities (have) given their lives,” he said. “You don’t realize that until you go to a small town and you see this memorial with all these names on it and then you realize all these people from this town … it makes it more of a personal thing for that town.”

To learn more about Tour of Honor visit www.tourofhonor.com. This year the seven stops in Kansas are:

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

111 E Forest Ave.

Girard, Kansas

210 miles from Junction City

GPS: 37.50978, -94.84193

A replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. this monument is engraved with the names of the 777 Kansans lost in the Vietnam War. The memorial includes a UH-1H Huey helicopter flown in Vietnam by a Kansas pilot and donated by the Department of the Army and Kansas Army National Guard to Girard Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7479.

Merci Boxcar

Veterans Memorial Park

1305 Canterbury Dr.

Hays, Kansas

140 miles from Junction City

GPS: 38.87199, -99.30033

In Feb. 1949 the French people sent 49 boxcars filled with gifts as a thank you or merci to for the help America had given in the rebuilding of their country. There was one boxcar for each state and the District of Columbia — Alaska and Hawaii had not yet received statehood.

The boxcars were built between 1852 and 1885 and were used to transport America’s Infantry and Cavalry to the fighting front during both world wars. Originally, each car was marked with a 40/8, as they would hold 40 men or 8 horses.

The Kansas Merci Boxcar has a memorial case on one end of the boxcar, which is used to honor the passing of local veterans for a 30-day period.

F-105G Thunderchief

Mid-America Air Museum

2000 W 2nd St.

Liberal, Kansas

Approximately 300 miles from Junction City

GPS: 37.038771, -100.952848

This fighter/bomber is displayed in the Mid-America Air Museum. To qualify for a ride, participants will need to enter the museum. There is a $7 entry fee, $5 for people age 62 and older.

The plane is the largest single-seat aircraft in history and was used in Southeast Asia from 1967 to 1973. Nicknamed “Thuds” because of the sound they made upon landing these fighters had one of the highest rates of loss during the war. They were responsible for flying low-level iron bomb missions over jungle terrain and were used as Wild Weasels, clearing out surface-to-air missiles to make way for other attack aircraft.

Veterans Memorial

Veterans Memorial Dr. & Carolina St.

Marysville, Kansas

Approximately 80 miles from Junction City

GPS: 39.843366, -96.635311

The Marshall County Veterans Memorial recognizes all veterans from the county and has more than 2,100 names on it. A smaller octagon-shaped wall in the center honors those Marshall County veterans killed or missing in action.

9/11 Memorial

Administration and Fire Training Center

12401 Hemlock St.

Overland Park, Kansas

Approximately 140 miles from Junction City

GPS: 38.90271, -94.68306

Navy Petty Officer Ronald J. Hemenway, from nearby Shawnee, is among those remembered at the Overland Park memorial to those who lost their lives on 9-11. Hemingway was assigned to the Pentagon after serving on the USS LaSalle. He is one of the few whose remains were never recovered.

The memorial includes a 2.5-ton artifact from Ground Zero and granite from the World Trade Center flooring. A timeline of events is spelled out over four panels and the names of all victims and first responders are listed. There is also an audio presentation, which explains the design elements.

Veterans Memorial

Pratt Industrial Airport

Flint Rd. & Baker Ave.

Pratt, Kansas

Approximately 170 miles from Junction City

GPS: 37.704514, -98.740607

The B-29 All Veterans Memorial honors all veterans, prisoners of war and the missing in action from American conflicts. The memorial is at the Pratt Industrial Airport, which was an Army Air Field during World War 2. This Army Airfield was the first B-29 Superfortress station, receiving the prototype YB-29 bomber in the summer of 1943.

The 58th Bomb Wing was the first B-29 combat wing of World War II and engaged in the first long-range strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands from bases in India, in 1944.

Veterans Memorial

Syracuse Cemetery

KS27, 1 mi north of W Warner St.

Syracuse, Kansas

Approximately 300 miles from Junction City

GPS: 37.99198, -101.76878

The Kansas Veterans Memorial is a tribute to all veterans.

In 2012, the Marine Corps Association and Foundation commissioned a painting featuring the images of three men who were famous aviators in the Marines. One of the men was Frank E. Petersen, Jr. whose mother, Edythe Southard, was raised on a farm near Syracuse. She would become the first African American woman to graduate from Friends University in Wichita.

Frank E. Petersen, Jr. was born in Topeka and enlisted in the Navy in 1950. He became the first African American selected to be a pilot in the USMC. Petersen flew missions in the Korean and Vietnam wars and served in the Marines for 38 years before retiring in 1988. He was also the first African American general and the first black commander of the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia. By Gail Parsons

Junction City Union

The Tour of Honor made adjustments to its annual motorcycle challenge ride to meet pandemic orders instituted in most states. Riders can still travel and visit as long as they follow rules of where they are going.

So as not to encourage riders to travel when they shouldn’t, Tour of Honor suspended the awarding of trophies this year, said rider Steven Seets from Dickinson County.

“They took away the desire for people to go out and put themselves in harm’s way,” he said. “And another reason was … if you go through a (high) COVID-19 area and you have an accident, then you’re taken medical attention away from somebody that could need it.”

Participation fees that would have gone to the purchase of trophies will instead be donated to Fisher House Foundation, Gold Star Family Memorial Foundation and Police and Fire: The Fallen Heroes. Each of the nonprofit organizations serve the same population that the memorials and monuments are designed for.

The annual Tour of Honor directs riders to seven monuments and memorials in each state, which were erected in memory or to honor military and first responders. Besides providing a reason to ride, Seets, who retired from the Army in 2008, said he is participating for his fourth time because it gives him a chance to reflect on the cost of American freedom and safety.

“Going to see the different memorials puts in perspective how many people from the small communities (have) given their lives,” he said. “You don’t realize that until you go to a small town and you see this memorial with all these names on it and then you realize all these people from this town … it makes it more of a personal thing for that town.”

To learn more about Tour of Honor visit www.tourofhonor.com. This year the seven stops in Kansas are:

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

111 E Forest Ave.

Girard, Kansas

210 miles from Junction City

GPS: 37.50978, -94.84193

A replica of the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. this monument is engraved with the names of the 777 Kansans lost in the Vietnam War. The memorial includes a UH-1H Huey helicopter flown in Vietnam by a Kansas pilot and donated by the Department of the Army and Kansas Army National Guard to Girard Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7479.

Merci Boxcar

Veterans Memorial Park

1305 Canterbury Dr.

Hays, Kansas

140 miles from Junction City

GPS: 38.87199, -99.30033

In Feb. 1949 the French people sent 49 boxcars filled with gifts as a thank you or merci to for the help America had given in the rebuilding of their country. There was one boxcar for each state and the District of Columbia — Alaska and Hawaii had not yet received statehood.

The boxcars were built between 1852 and 1885 and were used to transport America’s Infantry and Cavalry to the fighting front during both world wars. Originally, each car was marked with a 40/8, as they would hold 40 men or 8 horses.

The Kansas Merci Boxcar has a memorial case on one end of the boxcar, which is used to honor the passing of local veterans for a 30-day period.

F-105G Thunderchief

Mid-America Air Museum

2000 W 2nd St.

Liberal, Kansas

Approximately 300 miles from Junction City

GPS: 37.038771, -100.952848

This fighter/bomber is displayed in the Mid-America Air Museum. To qualify for a ride, participants will need to enter the museum. There is a $7 entry fee, $5 for people age 62 and older.

The plane is the largest single-seat aircraft in history and was used in Southeast Asia from 1967 to 1973. Nicknamed “Thuds” because of the sound they made upon landing these fighters had one of the highest rates of loss during the war. They were responsible for flying low-level iron bomb missions over jungle terrain and were used as Wild Weasels, clearing out surface-to-air missiles to make way for other attack aircraft.

Veterans Memorial

Veterans Memorial Dr. & Carolina St.

Marysville, Kansas

Approximately 80 miles from Junction City

GPS: 39.843366, -96.635311

The Marshall County Veterans Memorial recognizes all veterans from the county and has more than 2,100 names on it. A smaller octagon-shaped wall in the center honors those Marshall County veterans killed or missing in action.

9/11 Memorial

Administration and Fire Training Center

12401 Hemlock St.

Overland Park, Kansas

Approximately 140 miles from Junction City

GPS: 38.90271, -94.68306

Navy Petty Officer Ronald J. Hemenway, from nearby Shawnee, is among those remembered at the Overland Park memorial to those who lost their lives on 9-11. Hemingway was assigned to the Pentagon after serving on the USS LaSalle. He is one of the few whose remains were never recovered.

The memorial includes a 2.5-ton artifact from Ground Zero and granite from the World Trade Center flooring. A timeline of events is spelled out over four panels and the names of all victims and first responders are listed. There is also an audio presentation, which explains the design elements.

Veterans Memorial

Pratt Industrial Airport

Flint Rd. & Baker Ave.

Pratt, Kansas

Approximately 170 miles from Junction City

GPS: 37.704514, -98.740607

The B-29 All Veterans Memorial honors all veterans, prisoners of war and the missing in action from American conflicts. The memorial is at the Pratt Industrial Airport, which was an Army Air Field during World War 2. This Army Airfield was the first B-29 Superfortress station, receiving the prototype YB-29 bomber in the summer of 1943.

The 58th Bomb Wing was the first B-29 combat wing of World War II and engaged in the first long-range strategic bombardment of the Japanese Home Islands from bases in India, in 1944.

Veterans Memorial

Syracuse Cemetery

KS27, 1 mi north of W Warner St.

Syracuse, Kansas

Approximately 300 miles from Junction City

GPS: 37.99198, -101.76878

The Kansas Veterans Memorial is a tribute to all veterans.

In 2012, the Marine Corps Association and Foundation commissioned a painting featuring the images of three men who were famous aviators in the Marines. One of the men was Frank E. Petersen, Jr. whose mother, Edythe Southard, was raised on a farm near Syracuse. She would become the first African American woman to graduate from Friends University in Wichita.

Frank E. Petersen, Jr. was born in Topeka and enlisted in the Navy in 1950. He became the first African American selected to be a pilot in the USMC. Petersen flew missions in the Korean and Vietnam wars and served in the Marines for 38 years before retiring in 1988. He was also the first African American general and the first black commander of the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia.

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