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The start of the new year always seems to be a time of contemplation, as we look back on the past year
and look forward to the new. It’s not just because of new year’s resolutions, especially in Northeast
Ohio where we are often snowed in or simply kept off the road by salt and ice. It’s hard not to look
forward to the year ahead and warmer times, which often leads us back to consider what we
accomplished the year before.

These days this is a sobering thing as many of us have been challenged by so much this past year. If it
wasn’t COVID restrictions, it was the onslaught of never-ending madness on the news. It’s inevitable
that we think back to a time before COVID and the political craziness that seems to have torn our
country apart. If it wasn’t COVID and draconian mandates to restrict us for our own good – it was the
ensuing “supply chain disruptions”, staffing shortages, or simply rising costs that seemingly turned our
lives upside down. Many of the routines and traditions that we had come to just assume and take for
granted were suddenly gone. And worse, many of the relationships and ties that strengthened our lives
– were suddenly gone.

Many of us have lost friends and family the last few years to not only COVID – but many of the other
malaise that it escalated. Depression, alcoholism, suicide, and other tragedies took many more from our
lives. And then there are the relationships that we’ve lost due to our jobs changing, our community
landscapes evolving to reflect the changing times. In the motorcycle community, many of our bike
nights and even the largest of our rallies have been cancelled or rescheduled for dates to be

As I look back at the last two years, I’m left with one overwhelming goal for 2022 – we need to WAKE UP
and get back to living. We need to get out and celebrate life, restore the relationships we had, and TAKE

This isn’t a conspiratorial challenge or rally cry for the right (or left). It’s about saving what we’ve largely
taken for granted – until it was taken away from us… or we simply turned our back on it.
December 7th , 2021 was the 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor – and on that day I found myself watching a
ceremony being held at the USS Arizona. It was just by chance that I was even watching it – as I’ve
largely given up on watching the evening news. But I happened to be visiting family, and they had it on.
They showed over 50 Pearl Harbor Survivors gathered at the USS Arizona, and they reflected on that
day. They commented on the emotions they felt, and they recalled the sentiment across America that
day. The country rose up – unified in outrage and a sense that we needed to defend our nation. We
needed to stand up for our freedoms, our way of life. My generation had a similar experience on 9/11.
When challenged in a manner such of those days of infamy, our nation has ALWAYS unified and stood
firm. We’ve risen to the challenges and stood for what we believe in. Our history is full of instances
where we have risen and not only defended ourselves – but the world itself from those that would do it

Sadly, there are examples of the exact opposite as well. When our country loses focus and we become
divided. During such times, we are our own worst enemy and we are at the mercy of others. And sadly,
the world pays the price as well. Whether you believe that someone or something is orchestrating all of
this, it’s the culmination of years of social decay, or a perfect storm of unfortunate coincidences – we are at such a point. Our country has been torn apart, our communities divided, and even our family ties broken.

FOR 2022, WE NEED TO REVERSE THIS COURSE. We need to get back to living as a nation united. We need to reach out to those friends we’ve lost and reconnect with family estranged. We need to support the local businesses and events we value and set
down our phones. We need celebrate life in the real world and get out of our homes. We need to remember that we are ALL BROTHERS and SISTERS – and we need to shout this for all the country to hear.

Thankfully, we’re bikers – and that means we should also get out and ride, RIDE TO BE HEARD!
As luck would have it – the Piston Power Show is BACK ON! And hopefully, we will soon have good news
regarding Ohio Bike Week! Planning has already begun on bike shows and bike nights for the upcoming

Now it’s on you as riders – to get out and support these businesses and events. It’s on you to live the
life we want – and our country needs.

And we hope to be riding alongside you.

Ride Strong!
D. A. Smith
Thunder Roads Ohio

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