The Highground Annual Bike Tour/ Hero’s Tribute Ride
Many visitors ask about the history of the park and are humbled to hear of our beginnings. The idea for The Highground was actually born on December 18, 1965 on a battlefield in Vietnam. Twenty- four- year old, Tom Miller was holding in his arms his good friend and buddy, 22-year-old Jack Swender. Jack was unconscious and bleeding. As Jack lay dying in Tom’s arms, Tom made a silent promise to himself and to Jack that this terrible loss and great sacrifice wouldn’t be given in vain.
Twenty years later in 1985, Tom organized the first bike-a-thon, peddling around the perimeter of Wisconsin for a total of 1,244 miles, which is the number of Wisconsin military personnel killed or missing in action in Vietnam. This was the first significant amount of money raised. The Annual Bike Tour, which is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2009 at 11:30am for a very special Journey’s End Celebration picnic.
In honor of this major milestone, Vietnam veteran Tom Kingsbury has volunteered to recreate the ride that Tom Miller made back in 1985. The Highground Hero’s Tribute Ride will cover 1,244 miles plus 1 mile for each person, that has died in action from Wisconsin, since Vietnam. Tom will peddle around the state – touching each border and many communities in between; over 1500 miles in 10 days.
Tom and his crew will make several stops along his journey reaching out to communities to help honor Wisconsin’s Heroes. Flags that have been flown in Iraq will be provided to a Gold Star family representative at each stop. They will present them to a local dignitary and ask that they be flown to honor area KIA’s. A special certificate with the names of all the area KIAs will also be presented to the dignitary by a service organization. The money raised from this special Highground Hero’s Tribute Ride will help bring the Persian Gulf Tribute to The Highground. This new tribute will honor the men and women, who have served around the world beginning with Desert Storm, through multiple Middle East conflicts, while marching forward in the Global War on Terrorism.