By: Stephen F. Seymour
More than 1,000 motorcyclists gathered for Big Nick’s Ride for the Fallen last Saturday, traveling the 35-mile route from Bourne to Yarmouth along the Cape’s historic Old King’s Highway.
The ride was founded in 2009 by Yarmouth Police Deputy Chief Steven Xiarhos and is held to honor, as Xiarhos explains it, “fallen heroes with ties to Cape Cod as well as all veterans past, present, and future.”
US Marine Corporal Nicholas G. Xiarhos, the ride’s namesake and Deputy Chief Xiarhos’s son, is one of 14 men and women with Cape Cod ties who died while serving in America’s longest war.
Organizers said the ride on Saturday, July 19, was notable for the large crowds of spectators who turned out in support of the fifth annual event.
The solemn route began at Massachusetts National Cemetery where Corporal Xiarhos was laid to rest. It ended at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, from which he graduated before joining the marines.
The ride passed what organizers estimated were thousands of people lining Route 6A and other roads along the route in support of the riders and troops. Hundreds more congregated at Dennis-Yarmouth High School to usher in the motorcycles as they roared into the parking lot.
Once the procession arrived at the school, the rumbling of engines was replaced by the sounds of live music, the sizzling of barbeque, laughter, cheers and tears from the crowd spending their afternoon in the summer sun.
During the gathering at the school, emotion was on display as Gold Star families, Cape Codders, veterans, and even marines from Xiarhos’s company paid their respects and honored the sacrifices of the fallen.
The event was meant not just to commemorate the losses but also to celebrate the lives and the freedoms that citizens of the United States enjoy, organizers said.
All proceeds from Saturday’s ride went to the Nicholas G. Xiarhos Memorial Fund, which is used to support local military families in need of financial assistance and wounded warriors and their families.
The fund is also a contributor to many other charities both local and national.
Organizers encourage those who missed the event this year to participate next year in order to show support for soldiers, past, present, and future, and the sacrifices they have made and will make in service to the United States.
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