Tampa motorcycle club honors veteran with ride to National Cemetery for Memorial Day ceremony

BUSHNELL, Fla. (WFLA) – It was born in 1868 to honor soldiers killed in the Civil War. Memorial Day honors Americans who made the supreme sacrifice in all of this nation’s conflicts. 

Thomas Campbell once said, “The patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree.” Those words are easily remembered at the National Cemetery in Bushnell, where there were thousands of flags, as far as the eye could see.

The cemetery readied for Memorial Day with a flag for each grave site.

In Hillsborough County, hundreds of bikers with the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Defenders of Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club readied for the ride to Bushnell.

“To demonstrate to America that we don’t take this for granted, what they’ve done,” said chapter president Ron Rook. “We want to honor them and pay tribute to them.”

There were two special passengers along for the ride, Navy Lt. Commander Ramesh Haytasingh and his wife Crystal.

Lt. Cdr. Ramesh Haytasingh, who greets people with hugs instead of handshakes, did five tours in Afghanistan and three in Iraq. He mostly disarmed roadside bombs.

An accident while vacationing in 2013 cost him the use of his legs.

The bikers provided he and Crystal with a special ride.

“It’s going to be on a trike, a three-wheeled vehicle, where my wife and I can sit on it and enjoy a motorcycle ride for the first time in three years. I’m looking forward to it,” said Lt. Cdr. Haytasingh.

The ride to Bushnell was smooth and fun. 

“We had fantastic ride up,” said Crystal. “He’s, you know, around brothers and stuff like that, so it’s just amazing.”

This Memorial Day was the first in three years in which Lt. Cdr. Haytasingh has ventured out to participate in ceremonies.

He has struggled with emotional scars borne from battle.

“I do know, many over 30 brothers, I call them brothers, that were not able to make it back,” he said.

According to Crystal, considering the circumstances, Ramesh did well.

“I think for anybody that’s lost you know, their brothers and their sisters and friends, stuff like that, this is a difficult day. You don’t want to be around anybody else,” she said.

Ramesh Haytasingh joined thousands under a baking sun at the National Cemetery to remember veterans who gave their lives for this country as well as those who served and have passed on.

But, he is unlike many who today, paused for a few moments.

“I have everyday, 365 days, to think about my brothers that I’ve lost,” he said.

Lt. Cdr. Ramesh Haytasingh said when he was young, he used to take Memorial Day lightly. He surely doesn’t any longer.

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