Harley-Davidson on its long-standing bond with the military: 'We represent freedom'

Eric Dehm
August 22, 2017 - 1:04 pm

US Army soldiers with their Harley-Davidson motorcycle in 1917. (Photo courtesy Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company)

The relationship between Harley-Davidson and the U.S military is long-standing and special, and one that continues today.

The company was co-founded in 1903 by William Harley and Arthur Davidson. Shortly thereafter, Arthur's brothers Walter and William A. Davidson joined the motorcycle company -- which was incorporated in 1907, with Harley and the Davidson brothers splitting the stock evenly.

Within a decade, Harley-Davidson began partnering with the U.S. military. 

Bill Davidson is the great-grandson of William A. Davidson and tells ConnectingVets.com he's extremely proud of the ties to the military for more than 100 years. He says the military and Harley-Davidson go so well together because they have so much in common.

"The relationship between Harley-Davidson and the military comes to one statement in my opinion, and that is 'proud to be an American'," Davidson says. "We're a USA brand, made in America and we represent freedom."

H-D takes that relationship seriously, and Davidson says the company believes saying "thank you" just isn't enough.

So they do much more, including awarding free motorcycles to vets, offering vets and their spouses their riding academy at a deep discount and even storing bikes for service members deployed overseas -- free of charge.

Davidson has a message for veterans and active members of the military.

"On behalf of the Harley-Davidson family, which is our customers, our employees, our dealer network around the world, it's a BIG thank you," Davidson says. "There's a reason we have freedom today and there's a reason we can get on our two-wheeled Harley-Davidsons and see the great U.S. of A from the seat of a Harley-Davidson.