In our series, A More Perfect Union, we highlight examples of people coming together to show that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.
Kaye Jordan and Michael Perich both lost their sons serving with the U.S. military in the war on terror. Strangers at the start, the two spent this summer biking across the country to raise awareness for families who’ve experienced similar pain.
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Their cross-country ride is part of an effort by the nonprofit Legacies Alive to support Gold Star families, those who’ve lost loved ones in service to our country, reports CBS News’ Dana Jacobson. The group gets its message out through extreme challenges like this cycling trek from San Diego to New York City, with daily rides totaling as much as 100 miles.
“I think about Austin all the time. He’s on my necklace. And when I’m going up hills or I’m having a hard time I just kiss his dog tags. And he motivates me,” Jordan said.
“I think of my son almost every day anyhow. But this is just a little bit more, you know,” Perich said.
For three months, Jordan and Perich have battled hills, muddy trails and the desolate open road. They both lost their sons to wars. The memories of them are fueling this solemn journey.
Strangers at the start, the two are now bound by a common goal: a 3,700-mile cross-country bike ride to raise awareness for Gold Star families and honor all who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s almost like our kids’ hearts are in us and we are riding because, you know, they can’t live,” Jordan said.
In 2010, just 96 days into his first deployment in Afghanistan, Jordan’s son Austin, a private first class in the U.S. Army, was killed by an Afghan solider.
“I didn’t believe it. I didn’t wanna believe it. I grabbed his picture in the house and I just fell to the floor, you know. A lot of denial sets in – and for a year and a half, I isolated myself. I didn’t want to be around people,” Jordan said. “I knew that’s not what Austin would want me to do.”
The death of Perich’s son is classified.
“It was just – it was a nightmare. It’s still been a nightmare. You know, it’ll always be a nightmare,” Perich said.
Asked how this ride has helped, Perich said, “It’s just – you can talk, talk freely about, you know, your kids. But it’s been a good…