Give A Salute

Steve Lita American Iron Magazine Editor

Steve Lita, American Iron Magazine Editor

RIDE TO WORK by Steve Lita, Editor

It takes a lot of courage and love of country to be a soldier, and we can’t thank them enough

November 11th, Veterans Day, is just a few short days from the on sale date of this issue of American Iron Magazine. It’s an official United States public holiday that honors military men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. Not to be confused with Memorial Day in May, which honors those who died while in military service, or Armed Forces Day (also in May,) which honors those currently serving. I would hope, like a good American, you already knew all that. And I hope that clears things up for you if you didn’t already know. But somehow I think the young lady working the counter at the package shipping depot I visited the other day doesn’t know this. She asked me to fill out an international customs form for the package I was shipping to New Mexico. (I kid you not.)

Veterans Day, which until 1954 was known as Armistice Day, marks the anniversary of the end of World War I, which formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. As we approach the 100th anniversary of that day, I hope you’ll pause for a moment and think about the veteran soldier in your family, church, neighborhood, or hometown. It takes a lot of courage and love of country to be a soldier, and we can’t thank them enough.

I guess you could say this Veterans Day has been on my mind for a while. As this issue of AIM is being shipped to the printer, our small team here in the office has been putting the finishing touches on our annual special edition publication: American Iron Salute, Heroes in Uniform. It’s more than just another issue of the mag, and it takes a lot longer to compile, illustrate, and edit. Upwards of a year of planning, researching, writing, and photography has gone into the making of Salute. As the magazine’s title suggests, it’s our way to honor and showcase the motor-cycling lifestyle of not only military veterans, but first responders as well.

To assemble the content, we searched for interesting bikes and stories which intermixed the motorcycling and military realms. And as with American Iron Magazine, it’s not all about the hardware (the bike), it’s about the people behind the story as well. Our opening commentary is from 22-year Army veteran and Green Beret, Greg “Edge” Scheuer, who writes about the adrenaline rush motorcycling provides for him. We gathered some fitting event coverage like the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis, Rolling Thunder, and Patriot Ride as well. If you pick up a copy of American Iron Salute you’ll read about people like Marine veteran Josh Davis and his slammed late-model bagger with murals commemorating soldiers who inspired him. Other featured veterans are Gary Wright, a former MP who built his dream Road King to ride and show, and Mark “Tin Man” Graunke, who, with the help of Motorcycle Missions, built a trike with custom controls he can manipulate with his prosthetics. (Guess why they call him Tin Man.)

After three tours of duty in Vietnam and a stint as a New York state trooper, Rick Butterfield built a period-correct Knucklehead police bike, and Airman Jose Cruz’s Dyna has earned its wings. The only World War I veteran we have in Salute is the tale of a 1918 Harley 1000 18J sidecar rig and its journey from the battlefields of France all the way back to its birthplace, Milwaukee. But there’s plenty more.

Truth be told, it was difficult to determine exactly what elements to include in this year’s Salute, as we had so many great stories to choose from. It wasn’t easy to fit it all in. We still have a couple of stories that are waiting in the wings. They’ll provide a solid foundation for our next American Iron Salute. And just like that, I’m thinking about Veterans Day 2019.

American Iron Salute, Heroes In Uniform is a newsstand special and is available at retailers that carry American Iron Magazine. It’s also available digitally via Zinio.com.