Patriotic motorcycle represents service of Nebraska veterans who've owned it – The Daily Nonpareil

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Former owner Willis “Willie” Mahler rides the motorcycle during an event. Mahler died in late November. The motorcycle’s current owner rode it to Beemer for Mahler’s celebration of life. 
Willis “Willie” Mahler, a veteran of the Air Force and the second owner of a patriotic 2005 Harley Davidson Electra Glide, loved riding the trike, according to his son, Adam Bradfield.
Four Nebraska veterans have owned this patriotic 2005 Harley Davidson Electra Glide.
Family of Willis “Willie” Mahler pose for a picture with the patriotic trike.
Omaha veteran reunites with long-lost soldier who saved his life in Vietnam
The history of patriotism and military service behind one Harley Davidson motorcycle goes much deeper than the bike’s American flag paint job.
The 2005 “Old Glory” Electra Glide has been owned by four Nebraska veterans in its lifetime, a story that came to light when the current owner rode the trike to a previous owner’s celebration of life earlier this month.
Bryan Miller, an Army veteran who lives in Tekamah, bought the motorcycle about four weeks ago.
“I’m proud of it,” he said. “You pull up and people are looking at it and taking pictures of it, it makes you feel proud.”
When Miller got a call about riding the motorcycle into Beemer for the bike’s second owner Willis “Willie” Mahler’s celebration of life, he didn’t hesitate to help honor a fellow veteran.
“It’s a very humbling honor,” he said. “The general public looks at us as being rough, tough guys, but if you want to see big guys break down, it’s at a funeral of a fallen veteran.”
Mahler loved the motorcycle when he owned it, his son Adam Bradfield said. Mahler served in the Air Force and was active in honoring fellow veterans throughout his life. He helped form the American Legion Riders in Beemer in 2012, Bradfield said.
“He was a big part of starting that and getting that finalized, which is a very proud moment in his life,” Bradfield said.
Bradfield worked with Miller to surprise the rest of his family by having the motorcycle at his dad’s service.
“That really, really pulled at our heartstrings when I was able to get it to the celebration of life,” he said.
The story of the patriotic trike goes back to its original owner, Tom Dasenbrock of Venice, who purchased it from Dillon Brothers Harley Davidson in Omaha in 2005.
Then, it was just a white motorcycle. Dasenbrock, a Vietnam veteran, decided to convert it into a trike and add a patriotic paint job.
“I have a great love for the flag,” he said. “There’s a lot of motorcycles that are patriotic and I wanted to make it over the top and turn the whole thing into a flag.”
Dasenbrock said he enjoyed riding the bike until he traded it in in 2012.
“Wherever we went, it was a showstopper because it was so unusual,” he said.
The bike was then bought by Mahler, who owned it until 2016.
The bike’s third owner, Reuben Dupsky of Fremont, purchased the bike in 2016 and owned it until he sold it to Miller.
Former owner Reuben Dupsky, a Vietnam veteran, sits atop the patriotic trike.
Dupsky, also a Vietnam veteran, said he got a lot of use out of the bike, taking it to car shows and poker rides.
“My favorite memory was just the prestige of riding it,” he said.
Miller hopes to continue showing off the patriotism of the bike. He takes part in Patriot Guard rides and funerals for veterans.
Each previous owner said they are glad to see the bike has continued to be passed down among veterans. They hope the tradition continues.
“I had my enjoyment out of it, and it was time for another veteran to have it and enjoy his time on it,” Dupsky.
A giant inflatable bald eagle is pulled down K Street past the Capitol Building Sunday during the third annual Lincoln Veterans Day Parade.
Vice Admiral Walter E. “Ted” Carter Jr., the University of Nebraska President, and his wife, Lynda, ride in the third annual Lincoln Veterans Day Parade on Sunday.
Spectators holding American flags watch the third annual Lincoln Veterans Day Parade on Sunday at the Capitol Building.
Rick Pollen sits with his wife, Emily (not pictured), while he watches the third annual Lincoln Veterans Day Parade on Sunday at the Capitol Building. “We love America and want to support the veterans” they said.
The Sons of the American Revolution march with the American and Nebraska flags in the third annual Lincoln Veterans Day Parade on Sunday at the Capitol.
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Former owner Willis “Willie” Mahler rides the motorcycle during an event. Mahler died in late November. The motorcycle’s current owner rode it to Beemer for Mahler’s celebration of life. 
Former owner Reuben Dupsky, a Vietnam veteran, sits atop the patriotic trike.
Willis “Willie” Mahler, a veteran of the Air Force and the second owner of a patriotic 2005 Harley Davidson Electra Glide, loved riding the trike, according to his son, Adam Bradfield.
Four Nebraska veterans have owned this patriotic 2005 Harley Davidson Electra Glide.
Family of Willis “Willie” Mahler pose for a picture with the patriotic trike.
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