SALT LAKE CITY (NBC News) – An 89-year-old World War II Marine veteran is riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle coast to coast to honor military members who never made it back home.

Bruce Heilman served in the Marines in World War II.

Last month, he set off from California headed to Washington, DC where he’s expected to arrive for Memorial Day.

Heilman made a stop in Salt Lake City Saturday.

He’s riding his Harley 6,000 miles to honor those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

“Memorial Day is more than hot dogs and marshmallows and we ought to recognize in everything we do that our freedom comes from our military,” said Heilman.  “Somebody says there’s a 90-year-old guy riding a motorcycle six-thousand miles and they’ll say ‘well, I want to see that guy!’ Then they don’t know it but I’m telling them something important.”

Heilman survived an airplane accident over Iwo Jima and was awarded numerous medals for his service.

Heilman is currently the chancellor of the University of Richmond where he served as president and CEO for 17 years.To follow Dr. Heilman’s cross-country journey, click here.