Motorcycle Ride to Honor Fallen Benefits Local Memorial Funds

Big Nick's RideBARNSTABLE – An annual motorcycle ride to honor fallen soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan will take place Sunday.

Big Nick’s Ride for the Fallen will start at 10 a.m. at the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Complex in Bourne and will benefit the Nicholas G. Xiarhos Memorial Fund and Massachusetts Iraq & Afghanistan Fallen Heroes Memorial Fund.

Yarmouth Deputy Police Chief Steven Xiarhos, whose son Nicholas died on an Afghanistan battlefield in 2009, said the ride is always a bittersweet occasion.

“It’s a struggle every day for Gold Star families, but on that day, the battle between sadness and pride, in those moments, the pride wins over and you just feel so loved,” Xiarhos said.

The bike route ends at the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, where Nicholas graduated from in 2006. A family-oriented celebration, featuring live music, a raffle and food vendors, will begin at noon.

The families of loved ones lost in battle are not the only ones for whom the event is therapeutic, according to Xiarhos.

He said that, for the surviving members of the military, the ride is a chance to be thanked for their service. Many veterans are expected to kick up their bikes’ stands this Sunday to take part in the ride.

“One of the reasons why we do the ride is to raise awareness for veterans and their families,” Xiarhos said.

All are encouraged to attend though, and Xiarhos said the presence and support is incredibly valuable to the riders.

“The part that they play being on the side of the road may be more valuable than they think,” he said.

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