In Honor of John "Phoenix" Brown (1948 to 2014)
First, on behalf of our family, let me thank you and the CVMA for Patriot Ride escorting my Father back home to Virginia this past Saturday. Hearing your bikes rumble long before y’all entered my neighborhood that morning, led us think something big was coming, but when 50 of you rolled past the house, it was overwhelming to say the least. To know that my Dad meant that much to so many of his fellow Veterans made the trek all the way up to Hanover, PA to ride home with him was an incredible honor. Adding another two dozen riders in Front Royal was just piling on. After we left, a neighbor that we didn’t know even stopped by and spoke to my wife about it. He told her that Dad must have been a great man to receive such an honor. Saying that he wished someone had called the newspaper beforehand to let the public know about it. I tend to agree because it was indeed a great honor.
While riding home, I started to get a lot more clarity in why the CVMA and the other Veterans groups my Father belonged to meant so much to him. He spent four decades trying to reconcile things with his service that most people around him could not comprehend, even those of us closest to him. But Vets helping Vets allowing him to fight his PTSD with new allies, those with similar combat experiences. Those of you that know. It also shed light on why performing Patriots Rides meant a lot to Dad. In addition to honoring the fallen, I think that the actual operation of the ride itself provided him some familiar order and structure that was calming to him amidst the relative chaos of civilian life. I believe he found a sense of peace in that.
As we talked about, attached are a few photos we took of the ride for your use, though it was hard to capture the full experience. And please feel free to distribute them to anyone that wants a copy. If there is anything else that we can do to help the CVMA, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you for the honor of the Patriot Ride and the support Dad received in the past few years. We look forward to see those of you who can make it to Dad’s Memorial Service on Saturday and we will let you know when we get his interment at Arlington National Cemetery scheduled. We will always miss him immensely, but knowing he was able to be a positive part of the lives of so many people is a source of comfort and pride.