Dr. Earl Bruce Heilman is a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of Okinawa.
This year, he is turning 90 years old and has a special birthday treat for himself.
Heilman is going on a 6,000 mile journey across the United States, stopping to visit monuments that honor fallen soldiers. One of his seven main stops was in Oklahoma City on Tuesday to see the U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial and the U.S.S. Oklahoma Anchor Memorial.
He’s been on the road for 10 days so far.
On Monday, he rode 350 miles to get to Oklahoma City.
He plans to ride into his 90 birthday, which is on July 16.
By Memorial Day, he will have traveled from Virginia to San Diego and all the way back.
Heilman laid a wreath at each site in Oklahoma City. There was a small ceremony at the U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial where he spoke about the heroism of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and their Gold Star Families.
“We veterans know the heroes are the ones who aren’t here,” said Heilman.
Two fellow veterans escorted him to each site and are riding with him to his next stop in Amarillo, Texas.
Heilman plans to ride well into his 90s, remembering fellow soldiers and spreading awareness of their heroism across the country. At each stop, he shares laughs, wisdom and a lot of pride in those who serve the country.
“We’re going to ride out and protect freedom for us all,” said Heilman.