Harleys and heroes: this Independence Day weekend, a group of Southwest Florida war veterans gathered for a picture-perfect annual tradition.
"My wife and I put 20 years into the military," Navy veteran Gordon Rudolph said.
"I did 4 years in the Air Force, 12 months in Greece, 18 months in Japan and a month in Korea," Air Force veteran Ron Cox said.
"I spent a little over 2 tours in Vietnam," Marine veteran Jack Fenwick said.
A picture is worth a thousand words. For this group of Southwest Florida veterans, it might be worth even more. "These are the people, why my children and grandchildren are free," Air Force veteran Richard Longo said.
Saturday, Harley-Davidson of Fort Myers held its annual Freedom Photo. Dozens proudly donned shirts and hats representing their branches of the military "At this point, we're still ragging on each other on whose branch of service was best, which obviously the Air Force is," Cox joked.
But when the camera flashed, standing shoulder to shoulder, these branches formed one great tree. "It makes me feel proud, very proud, proud for myself, proud for the Corps, proud for all branches of the military," Fenwick said.
"I'm gonna cherish this picture, send it to all my grandkids and all my children, and I'll frame it in my house," Longo said.
Riding a Harley is all about freedom and independence - things these brave men and women fought so hard to preserve. After all they've experienced and seen overseas, the freedom to ride like the wind is a gift. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat," Fenwick said.
"All the military people here, we are all very pleased and happy to be home," Rudolph said. "God bless America."
Texas Tony's donated 200 sandwiches to the event. All proceeds will go to Blessings in a Backpack, a program designed to feed young children in Lee County who may not have any or enough food on the weekends.