Near-naked men on Memorial Drive

Irreverent Warriors take to the streets in zany comradeship with serious statement on suicide

Irreverent Warriors take to streets in zany parade, serious mission

Irreverent Warriors, Jan. 2016
Houston's Irreverent Warriors join forces on Saturday for a parade from Memorial Park to Pimlico's on Waugh Drive. Photo by Shelby Hodge
Irreverent Warriors, Jan. 2016
United in military serious service, they party big time with a purpose. Photo By Shelby Hodge
Irreverent warriors, Jan. 2016
Walkers, runners and trucks waving American flags fill the parade route. Photo by Shelby Hodge
Irreverent Warriors, Jan. 2016
Irreverent Warriors, Jan. 2016
Irreverent warriors, Jan. 2016

I couldn't believe my eyes. Was that a rodeo parade heading down Memorial Drive Saturday morning, several weeks before the trail rides start arriving? Was it a demonstration?

As the throng drew closer to my perch at Starbucks, I could see there were men, lots of men — shirtless, in undies or shorts, even a bare-ass thong or two. And the occasional female, but dressed more conservatively.

What?

It was H-Town's Irreverent Warriors parading to raise awareness about veteran suicides. It's called the Silkies Hike

As one of the soldiers explained after he gave me big hug was that they were marching in friendship, in a sort of moving therapy session and with the goal of helping prevent the veteran suicides which this group says occur 22 times a day.

All across the country, veterans hike 22 kilometers in their "silkies" or undies, while carrying a 22 kilogram pack in memory of the 22 who die each day. Saturday's group traveled from Memorial Park to Pimlico's on Waugh Drive for an all-day party that began with a number of guys rapidly consuming brewskies as they marched along.

"Irreverent Warriors are veterans who have used humor to get through the darkest side of humanity. We are the men and women who have been prepared to kill and die for our country," the non-profit's website states. "We have laughed in the face of death, dismemberment, and the enemies of the United States. We have experienced pain, tragedy, and trauma — both overseas and at home — and we have used humor as a coping mechanism."