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Our opinion: Welcome to The Ride Home 2016

Beginning today, the community will be host to hundreds of veterans, some former prisoners of war, and their families, as well as the families of members of our military missing in action. Some of the members of Rolling Thunder come back year after year and are well known to many here; they’ve become our friends. This is the 14th year Sumter County has had the privilege of hosting this annual event.
There will be 160 honored guests among the 700 expected visitors. They will be traveling around the area visiting historic places and will hold a ceremony at the Andersonville National Historic Site and two events at Georgia Southwestern State University.
Yes, there will be the rumbling sounds of motorcycles in our midst as Rolling Thunder members are on two wheels. These visitors spend a quarter-million dollars in Sumter County during the 60-hour period they will be here. They will be riding through the area en mass, and locals are urged to wave and recognize them.
These visitors are our guests. We urge everyone to be respectful and friendly to them, with good old southern hospitality. Thank them for their service. Proudly display the American flag as well as the POW-MIA flag.
Let’s all make The Ride Home 2016 the truly memorable event it is designed to be.