View Full Version : Bikes escort vets' remains through Utah

05-25-09, 06:48 AM
Bikes escort vets' remains through Utah
The Associated Press
Posted : Sunday May 24, 2009 14:03:09 EDT

WENDOVER, Nev. — Veterans Johnnie Franklin Callahan, James William Dunn and Isaiah Mays may have died years apart, but they're now on a joint cross-country journey to a final resting place.

Escorted by motorcyclists, the remains of the three men rolled through Utah on Friday as part of the Missing in America Project.

The project seeks to locate and identify the remains of forgotten veterans whose cremated remains are on shelves in mortuaries across the country. In just under three years, the organization has located the remains of more than 500 veterans and facilitated interment for nearly 400.

For Callahan, Dunn and Mays, the trip began Thursday in Sacramento, Calif., and will end May 29 in Washington D.C.'s Arlington National Cemetery. The Honors at Arlington Escort is made up of hundreds of reverent riders, most of whom never met the service men and women they are shepherding to Arlington.

"This is a huge, huge deal. It means a lot to us and others in the organization. Some of us are veterans and some of us are not," said Bill Roop, spokesman for the POW/MIA Organization of Utah. "But we all take a lot of pride in our veterans and we want to do the best we can to make sure that everyone gets the honors they have earned and rightfully should get. It's not about us."

The remains are in urns riding on an unorthodox hears — a custom-designed "bike of love," which sports a buffalo head on the front and is draped with a bear rug.

A World War II Navy veteran, Callahan died in 1995. Dunn was a combat medic in Vietnam who passed away last May. A Buffalo soldier who served during the late 1800s, Mays died in 1927.

Callahan's daughter, Patti Callahan, has tried since 1995 to have him buried in the national cemetery.

“It is an incredible dream come true for me," said Patti Callahan, who is riding escort for her father. "He always said he wanted to be buried there (Arlington) and have a 21-gun salute and I told him, 'I will do that, Daddy.'"