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Present Arms!

Columns Steve Lita

Present Arms!

Steve Lita American Iron Magazine Editor
Steve Lita American Iron Magazine Editor

Steve Lita, American Iron Magazine Editor

RIDE TO WORK by Steve Lita, Editor

…there seemed to be much more appreciation and remembrance during this time than I can remember?

I conducted a little research while writing this column. The search results for the term salute produced countless pages of information and no less than 9,500 words describing salutes on Wikipedia. Well, we don’t have room for 9,500 words here, so I’ll wrap it up quickly.

A salute is a gesture (or other action) used to display respect. Salutes are primarily associated with armed forces, but other organizations and civilians use salutes as well. The most common salute is a hand gesture or motion, but salutes can also be performed with flags, swords, rifles, airplanes flying over, or my favorite: canons!

I recently witnessed a rifle salute at the funeral of a friend who was a veteran. And as if the occasion weren’t somber enough, and even though they were firing blanks into the air, the intense sound of multiple rifles firing a few feet away was a shock to everyone’s system. It brought even more tears to everyone’s eyes.

Civilians can salute by placing the right hand over the heart during the playing of the national anthem or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. There are many courtesies and rules for when and where to perform official salutes.

I bring all this to light for a reason. As you may know, American Iron has been producing special edition publications for over a decade. We’ve covered many topics, from Harley-Davidson’s assorted anniversaries to the chopper phenomena, and even engine tuning and power products. Our sister publication, Garage Build, started out as a special edition publication that caught on, so we went big with it.

One of the titles we’re most proud of is our annual American Iron Salute: Heroes in Uniform. We’re so pumped, in fact, subscribers to American Iron Magazine get a free copy of Salute with your subscription. Salute has always been one of our most popular offerings, and with this being our 30th year in publication, it seems like a fitting way to celebrate. Salute magazine is our way to focus a special spotlight on military personnel and their motorcycles, custom military-themed bikes, period-correct service machines, and veterans events. And Salute is not just for celebrating the armed forces, as we also include municipal machines and first responders, too.

Actually, the cover of last year’s Salute featured a perfectly restored 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead New York State Police bike owned by, appropriately, a 37-year veteran of the New York State Police.

As I write this, both Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of D-day have just passed. Aside from the usual “store-wide sales events” and television documentary specials, there seemed to be much more appreciation and remembrance during this time than I can remember. I’m glad to see that people are educating young folks that Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who died in service, and not actually National Hamburger Cookout Day or Unofficial Beginning of Summer Day.

By the time you read this we’ll be in full-on Salute-issue production mode around the office. I’ve been collecting leads and stories since the day after we shipped the 2018 issue of Salute last year. And even though I have a good selection of custom military bike stories, personality interviews, and veteran event coverage accumulated, I’m going to ask for your help.

Know a veteran who has an American-made bike with a custom-painted military theme featuring his company’s colors on it? Shoot some pictures and send them in. We’d like to see them. And don’t stop there. Do you know someone who collects American-made military or police bikes? Let me know. Have you visited a military museum that showcases service motorcycles? How about a veterans charity ride event, have you been to one recently? Also, don’t forget, we need police and fire department-related bikes, too. We couldn’t find a custom firefighter bike for last year’s issue. Anyone out there have one? Heck—if there’s an ambulance driver out there who rides an EMS-themed bike, I want to know about it. Here’s another idea: Do you have a faded picture of your pop or grandpa during World War II riding his Harley WLA (with the cool rifle scabbard)? Please have it scanned and converted to a high resolution photo and send it to Letters@AmericanIronMag.com. It might just make it onto the pages of this year’s American Iron Salute