This post is for day 10 and day 11 spent in Washington DC
Fantastic, we made it! What a great ride. It is more than a minor milestone for many on this RUN. Many high five’s, hugs and great celebration. A job well done for anyone who went for only one day, and yet many of us were there the entire ten days, it is something to be proud of. There is a bonding that takes place among riders on a trip like this, especially when centered around so great of a cause. It is so good to see those who were maybe struggling at the beginning and after 10 days in the saddle, now are pros and they have overcome issues that they were dealing with.
This RUN is a test, a test of your “metal” to see what you are made of, a test of your character, as things can get dicey at times, and a test of the purpose that drives us. It is a good test. Some have gone all 29 times and some only a day or two. Wherever you fit in the time thing, we are thankful for you and are glad you were a part of it and we believe this trip is life changing, so take advantage of the things you have seen, learned and experienced and go make your world a little better because of what you have learned.
The trip from Lewisburg to DC was pretty much un-eventful. Again that is possible for all the State and City police Departments helping us out. I have been on the RUN when we did not have any help and or protection through Kansas City, St. Louis, Louisville K. and especially DC. I am so very, very thankful for all the help and if you newbies understood what it was like, you would be very thankful too.
I want to interject an interview I had with Barb “Rockie” Bell. She has 3 kids and is presently works as a Real Estate investor. On the RUN she works as a Road Guard but is also the Chief Medical Officer for the RUN. Barb made the RUN in 04 and it changed her so much it gave her back her boldness and self-confidence, that she went home and talked things over with her family and she and they decided she should enlist in the Air Force and served there ten years. She became a medical flight nurse on the Critical Air Transport for ten years. She went on the RUN in 08 and 09 when on leave. Barb gave an example of why she does this RUN every year. One of her friends had been in counseling for 6 years for PTSD and was at the point he could not even go to the store to buy needed things. Somehow he made it to the RUN and went the whole way. When he returned from the RUN he took his family to Disney World. He said that the RUN did more good in 10 days than all the counseling he had received. (Let’s remember that next time we say welcome home or hug an FNG) Barb was the only official medical person available on the RUN until 2013. She was a very busy lady then. The RUN had a bad accident NW of Oakley K. on the 2012 RUN where several people went down and had serious injuries. I remember Barb that day, she was pretty shaken up and bothered by the helplessness of the RUN to deal with the medical trauma. So, she and her son William Govigan (sp) set up the medical team guidelines we have in place now. Barb says that the people we meet are life changing experiences.
Here I think it prudent to ask this question. What would Barb’s life and the life of those she has helped all these years be like if she had not made it to the RUN. What would the life of her friend be like if he had not had Barb and the others to pull him along? Who could even begin to guess or know but how very good it is that she found her way with a little, well maybe a lot of help from the RUN. We are blessed to have you Barb and we are blessed also to have so many others on this RUN that are top quality people. People that have found a place here and a home of brothers and sisters that they have found maybe nowhere else and they have stepped up this year as they have in the past and they have done what it takes to make the difference in people’s lives. I am so thankful for all of you. I was not able to spotlight so many of my friends as time and space just do not allow. But just so you know readers there are many, many great people that make this RUN happen.
Speaking of great people, it is important that I do not forget the FUEL CREW. They are led by George Creacy who has been faithful at this job for many years. They can fuel 400 bikes in 20 minutes or less, it is amazing to watch and even more amazing to be a part of. Thanks much to all of the crew.
We had our traditional dinner at the Mexican restaurant with friends from the RUN just a few blocks away from our hotels and did an early to bed night. This trip can wear you out over the time it takes to do it. I have slept for about 3 hours just letting my body catch up.
On Saturday I went to the Wall at about 7:00 AM, as there not too many people there and if you need solace to reflect, it is a great time to go. I took many pictures to try and capture the stories there and I walked with my good friends Eric and Sonja (Ambassadors) to the other memorials and then we went to the Lincoln memorial at 11:30 for pictures of the whole gang. A pretty cool group and there more there today than I think I have ever seen there. We had some interesting things happen while touring the memorials. There were there several groups from different parts of the country learning about the memorials and they were young kidos and very interested in what was going on. Since the 3 of us were dressed in RUN clothes, they assumed we were Vets and wanted to shake our hands and hug us. We told them we were not vets but the more we insisted they were still wanting to make contact with Vets so we certainly made them feel appreciated on the be-half of you Vets. It was so refreshing to see so many young people there learning about the memorials and being so interested in them. After a while we just stopped explaining, because they did not understand any way and so we pass on that great thankfulness to you all.
I would like to pontificate here a bit as this place, the Wall, is a very special place. I am not a Vet and I have been here at least 10 times over the years and each time I am filled with respect and quietness for the sacredness of this Wall. Here are the names of over 58 thousand men and some women who perished while I was safe at home doing things that all Americans were doing. Mostly unaware of the real hurt and suffering and death toll that was taking place. Now I see the many names and it seems unbelievable that all of this took place while I and most of America was unaware or at times did not really care. The Veterans that came back then were looked at as a little off and we dared not talk to them too much. When I did talk to them I tried to understand and told them so, but really how could I begin to understand what they went through. Maybe that is why I respect this place so much, as it gives me a place to honor those I never knew who sacrificed for me so that I live. To the families of the many names listed on this Wall, Thank You! You have my deepest respect and I pray that we as a people, nation will always honor you!
And one of the most important and special events of this entire RUN is being able to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is a special event that we are privileged to do. We invite all of the FNG’s to ride into Arlington National Cometary and attend the laying of the wreath. The RUN chooses 4 different riders to lay the wreath each year. This year Dadbo, Ross, Santa Ed, and Bandit were chosen. This is such a huge blessing and privilege to be chosen and to be able to participate.
So here we are, at the end, bummer, but yet a good thing as we all have other lives to lead, at least I have a job to get back to. I hope that through my eyes and the pictures you have enjoyed some of the posts and that they have been a blessing to you. I have much to learn in this area and I have learned a few helpful hints, like don’t start writing so late in the evening and (J)
Until we meet again, may God richly bless and keep you!
Roger Hageman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy the pictures:
We have two special “Road Guards” who do all the road guard duties and also carry the flags whenever we enter a town or memorial. Each carries two MIA-POW flags and of course one American flag. We greatly appreciate their contributions as the sight of the flags leading the RUN is impressive. They are Bud “Rebar” Phillips and Tom “Twitch” Burnett. Thanks Guys!
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Tom "Bones" Pogue, writing down the "Missing Man" name on the pavement. Tom does this to help remind all of us who we are riding for and why. It also speaks to people after we are gone and may cause them to stop and consider them more seriously. Thanks Tom for the reminder.
A fitting end, until next time, God Bless!