The story of the Harley Davidson that traveled across the Pacific Ocean is warming hearts again.

Seven years ago, on March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake wracked the northeastern coast of Japan and triggered an enormous tusnami that crashed across the coast of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures, destroying homes, business, and lives, and sweeping millions of dollars of property away into the deep ocean.

One year later, a Harley Davidson motorcycle washed up on the western shore of Canada, miraculously intact in spite of a year adrift at sea, and with a legible license plate to boot. It had apparently traveled 5,000 kilometers (3107 miles) across the Pacific Ocean in a storage container, which had been broken apart by the tide before being deposited on an island beach in British Columbia. The bike, which had apparently been launched from the container when it settled on the beach, was found partially submerged in the sand.

It was missing its seat, the spokes of a wheel had snapped, and its mechanical components were filled with sand and ocean debris, but there was still air in the tires, and the frame was largely undamaged by rust. Seeing this, Harley Davidson enthusiasts were eager to take it to a Harley shop to see if they could fix it up and perhaps send it back to its owner.

Eventually, Harley Davidson received word of the bike, and offered to repair or even replace it, and return it to its owner. But the owner, an at-the-time 29-year-old man from Miyagi, had an unexpected response: he believed that it would be wrong for him, alone, to be so privileged when so many others have lost so much, and rejected the offer. Instead, he asked for the bike to be put on display, without any adjustments or repairs, at the Harley Davidson museum in Wisconsin, so that people will always be reminded of what happened on March 11, 2011.

The bike now stands proudly and defiantly in the museum. Thanks to the salt of the sea, the metal components continue to corrode, and the bike is always changing, but that’s one of the mystical things about it, say museum workers. It is a sobering reminder of the power of mother nature, and an inspiring reminder of the resiliency of human nature. The former owner has taught us all a lesson in humility and personal strength that will not soon be forgotten, and not least by Japanese netizens, who are remembering the story again on the anniversary of the disaster.

▼ This netizen shared it just before the seventh anniversary, and it has since been retweeted more than 120,000 times.

Despite the display being several years old, for some, it was the first time they’d heard about it. Many netizens were touched by the moving words of the owner and the generosity of Harley Davidson.

“I’m glad I found out about this and read into it some more. It’s a really nice story.”
“I heard that the owner said something like, ‘I’m not the only one who suffered. I’ll work hard and save up to buy another one.’ Maybe buying another Harley is his way to recover.”
“I cried.

“So dignified. Both Harley Davidson and the owner: beautiful.”
“I want this to be retweeted over and over for years and years. Thank you.”

Survivors of 3.11 will never forget what happened, and they will always reflect on the suffering that the great tsunami caused. But just like the former owner of this Harley Davidson, they are also making great strides to move on. The cities devastated by the tsunami have made an amazing recovery, and the residents of those cities are now living their ordinary, everyday lives, in spite of once being “victims”. The lessons we learn from this tragedy will likely stay with us forever, but those who remain are clearly stronger than ever.

Source: Twitter/@NogiRider_46 via My Game News Flash
Reference, images: YouTube/Harley Davidson Canada
Reference: YouTube/ShawTVSouthVI