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ABATE honors fallen members: Riders cover 280 miles to visit graves in five counties

Each year, members of the Southwest Chapter of ABATE gather to remember their members who have died.

In what has become a two-day motorcycle event covering 280 miles, the ABATE members of Lincoln, Lawrence, Copiah, Pike and Amite counties travel to 17 graves.

“ABATE of Mississippi, southwest chapter, started what we call a flower run in 1994 as a visit to the graves of our fallen members to place flowers, reminisce, laugh at and with them,” Charles Cunningham said. “We place marble footstones with their initials and our logo at their graves as a sign of love and respect for those who’ve left us.”

Photo submitted ABATE places footstones at late members' graves. They revisit the grave's each year during their flower runs.

Photo submitted
ABATE places footstones at late members’ graves. They revisit the grave’s each year during their flower runs.

Cunningham said they began the event because many times they are the only ones who visit the graves. He said Saturday they visited a grave in Amite County that had still had no headstone four years later, and the only flowers there were from the year before.

“It’s like visiting your grandmother’s grave; you get no benefit except showing respects,” he said.

Although they are the only ABATE chapter that does a flower run, they have full participation from the organization.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to get together to share stories and memories,” Carmen Hill said.

Hill said ABATE is very involved in raising motorcycle awareness and educating the public.

“We’re an organization, not a club or a gang,” she said.

They are also very active in charity work. The chapter’s main projects benefit Camp Jabber Jaw and the Southwest Mississippi Children’s Advocacy Center. They also have a toy run for the Dickerson Place each year for Christmas, complete with Santa Claus leading the way.

“It’s about camaraderie — shared character deficiencies if you will,” Cunningham said with a laugh.

“Camaraderie and fellowship go hand in hand,” Hill added.