MILWAUKEE (November 10, 2010) – Ever since the first American troops rode Harley-Davidson motorcycles during the Mexican Expedition in 1916, the Motor Company has enjoyed a long-standing bond with the men and women who have served our nation. To honor the service of active and retired U.S. military personnel, Harley-Davidson celebrates the company’s second annual Military Appreciation Month, and asks Americans to join in showing appreciation to those who defend our freedom.
The centerpiece of Military Appreciation Month is the opportunity for Americans to create personal messages of gratitude for active and retired personnel at www.harley-davidson.com/thankyou. These messages will be sent on an electronic postcard featuring supermodel and motorcycle rider Marisa Miller and military themed Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Americans are also encouraged to visit their area Harley-Davidson dealership to learn more about opportunities to honor local military heroes.
“At Harley-Davidson, we’re all about freedom, but we can’t forget that freedom comes at a price,” said Dino Bernacchi, Harley-Davidson’s director of Marketing and Communications. “It’s humbling to think of the countless sacrifices these brave men and women – and their families – have made to keep our country free, so the Motor Company is honored to help salute military personnel this November.”
The Harley-Davidson “Freedom Pass”
As part of Military Appreciation Month, the Motor Company is rewarding active and retired military personnel with the opportunity to win a “Freedom Pass,” an exclusive Harley-Davidson motorcycling experience. One winner will receive a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle of their choice, and a trip to Milwaukee, Wis., along with five of their fellow service members, where they will receive VIP treatment at the H-D Museum and other select gifts. To register, active and retired military personnel are encouraged to visit www.harley-davidson.com/thankyou. Service members can also stop at participating Harley-Davidson dealerships to pick up a limited edition Military Appreciation bandana, free with a valid military ID.
Harley-Davidson Partners with Supermodel and Rider, Marisa Miller
In celebration of Military Appreciation Month, Americans can secure limited-edition posters and postcards featuring supermodel and rider Marisa Miller that are available exclusively at participating Harley-Davidson dealerships throughout the country, while supplies last. The creative material featuring Miller pays tribute to the nostalgic military images historically painted by service members on the sides of U.S. bombers during World War II. Miller wears uniforms representing all five branches of the military in the photorealism styled creative.
“I’m honored to help the Motor Company salute the brave men and women who work so hard to defend our nation’s freedom,” said Miller. “My grandfather is a veteran, and I’ve had the unique opportunity to meet hundreds of service men and women during recent USO tours, so the military holds a special place in my heart. I hope other Americans will join me and Harley-Davidson in saluting these real life heroes during the month of November.”
Harley-Davidson and the Military
After use in the Mexican Expedition, the U.S. military commissioned nearly one-third of all Harley-Davidson motorcycles produced in 1917 to support efforts during World War I, and nearly half of the Motor Company’s production in 1918. At war’s end, it’s estimated that the Army used as many as 20,000 motorcycles. Interestingly, one day after the signing of the Armistice, Corporal Roy Holtz of Chippewa Falls, WI, was the first American to enter Germany – riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
During World War II, the Motor Company provided nearly 90,000 WLA models for military use. In 1943, Harley-Davidson received the first of its four coveted Army-Navy “E” Awards for excellence in wartime production.
Today Harley-Davidson continues to support active and retired U.S. military personnel through the Harley-Davidson Foundation and its continued support for Disabled American Veterans (DAV), which provides benefits counseling to veterans who have service-connected injuries. This August, the Foundation pledged its second $1 million to DAV to support programs and services for veterans. Mobile Service Office units, which are staffed by highly-trained DAV National Service Officers who are all wartime disabled veterans, appear at various Harley-Davidson dealerships around the country.
This year, the Harley-Davidson Museum will be hosting events throughout the weekend of November 11. For more information about the Museum events and Military Appreciation Month, visit www.harley-davidson.com/thankyou.