Around the Town: Police to escort flag through Flagstaff Friday

The annual Patriot Tour will come through Flagstaff with fanfare Friday. Sponsored by the Nation of Patriots, the tour takes an American flag through 48 states by motorcycle in 100 days. Along the way, the group raises money to help wounded veterans.

Flagstaff’s Dan Smith is the Regional Commander-Arizona for the Nation of Patriots and has been the Arizona flag bearer since 2010. Smith said that last year the group raised about $2,000; this year they have already tripled that amount. All the money raised here stays in Arizona.

The community is invited to show support along the route by holding flags, waving or just being there. On Friday, New Mexico and Arizona riders will meet up at 11:30 a.m. at the Winslow Elks Lodge. The Arizona group will then meet up with the Flagstaff Police Department escort tentatively at 1 p.m. on Old 66 (off the Walnut Canyon exit off I-40), and then proceed down Route 66 to Milton to Old 66 on the west side. The tour will continue to Grand Canyon Harley Davidson at Bellemont for the official flag exchange from New Mexico to Arizona.

Once in Bellemont, there will be a ceremony, proclamations, food and music. Open to the public, the event will begin around noon (in advance of the riders’ arrival) and last until approximately 4:30 p.m. when the tour will continue on to Williams for the night. There will be a dinner, music and other entertainment at the Wild West Junction.

On Saturday, July 23, there will be a ceremony at the Williams Veterans Memorial at 9 a.m., then the tour will head for Laughlin, Nevada, for the exchange with the Nevada riders.

“We encourage anyone and everyone to join us, at any point along the tour’s route, whether they ride or drive, to help us honor the sacrifices of our veterans, past and present, and to provide aid for our wounded vets and their families,” Smith said.

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