The flag line on the County Line Road bridge near Williams, Arizona, greets over 500 bikers as they begin their pilgrimage to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. For the fifth year in a row, veterans, bikers from Ash Fork, Prescott and Wickenburg, and family and friends lined up on the bridge to show their support to the group, which started out from Rancho Cucamonga, California early in the morning on Wednesday, May 15th. Following two separate routes, one through the central states and one through the southern states, the groups met up at the wall on May 25th, to pay tribute to all Viet Nam veterans and those Killed In Action, Missing In Action and Prisoners of War. They also journeyed to nearby Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
One blogger who participated and kept a daily log of the ride offers an account of her adventures and stories she picked up along the way here: http://jensride.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/may-25-2013/
My friend, Ellen, from the local American Legion, has been organizing the flag line for this event for 4 years now. She invited me this year, thinking that my 10 year old son would really enjoy watching the motorcycles go by. I found it to be a great opportunity to discuss respect for the American Flag, for veterans, pros and cons of having a military force, and love for country. In spite of this stimulating conversation, the moment we got out of the car, he started checking out the parked bikes. He quickly examined and evaluated each model and decided that when he grows up he wants a three-wheeler. Sigh. I hope he wears a helmet. And rides slow.
Run For The Wall, as Ellen put it, was started by "two guys out in California, to raise awareness of POW's and MIA's and help promote healing for Viet Nam vets and their families. 25 years ago the guys started this bike run to the Memorial Wall to honor their buddy who wanted to do it, but died before he could, so they did it for him." It turned into an annual event. What makes it different from other motorcycle events is the main rule: NO ATTITUDES. This is specifically a mission, a pilgrimage, to promote awareness of POW/MIA, honor and healing for veterans and their families and to remind the powers that be that there are still some that were left behind - and have not been forgotten.