A U.S. Army veteran “dropped in” to the 80th annual Sturgis Rally in South Dakota in style. The retired Special Forces soldier, a double amputee, skydived from a plane flying a mega-sized American flag and a parachute emblazoned with “Trump 2020: Keep America Great” for all attendees to witness, while fellow veterans were on hand to catch the flag on the ground as Sergeant First Class Dana Bowman landed.
Bowman lost his legs in a mid-air collision during active service for the U.S. Army. Since then, he has logged over 4,000 parachute jumps from an airplane.
After making his jump for the Sturgis Rally over the weekend on Aug. 8 and 9, Bowman joined hundreds of veteran bikers on the ground headed toward the Sturgis Indian Motorcycle dealership in a show of camaraderie.
“Without what our warriors, veterans, or soldiers have done for us we wouldn’t have our freedom,” Bowman said of his inspiration to make the spectacular jump, as reported by KOTA-TV, “and that’s why we’re here in Sturgis today.”
The experienced skydiver, who uses two prosthetic legs, described the jump as “exhilarating” for its far-reaching impact. Bowman has jumped thousands of times before, but this rally is special.
“You know, it is so exhilarating to be an inspiration to a lot of [supporters and veterans],” Bowman reflected. “Some are looking for hope; hope for the despondent, courage to the timid, and strength to the weak.”
Bowman practices what he preaches. He was the first double amputee ever to reenlist in the Army, and logged most of his skydives after losing his legs, according to KEVN.
The mid-air collision that resulted in Bowman’s double amputation occurred in 1994 while the retired soldier was serving on an Army parachute team, the Golden Knights. The catastrophic collision also took the life of one of Bowman’s colleagues.
In 1962, the Strategic Army Command Parachute Team (STRAC), comprising 19 airborne Army soldiers from various military units, formed the Golden Knights. The team was a demonstration and competition-oriented parachute squad; “Golden,” according to the U.S. Army, signified the gold medals that the team accrued, while “Knights” referred to their desire to conquer the skies.
To date, the Golden Knights have performed over 16,000 shows across 48 countries and earned the U.S. Army 2,148 gold medals on home turf and internationally, while breaking 348 world records.
“[T]o be able to bring in the American Flag,” Bowman added, “you think about what our veterans have done for us, sacrificing and supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States of America.
“It means an awful lot.”
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