There was a lot happening today. Today is the ride into Riverside National Cemetery (RNC). There was also supposed to be a presentation by Warrior Pointe to Run For The Wall, but I missed that and didn’t receive any info on how that went. The meeting for the ride into RNC started at 0830. All the bikes were lined up along the road ready to head out when time. We had the Pledge of Allegiance which was signed by Alisa and Ashley. We had nice prayer by Gwyn Frost and all FNGs were welcomed. Jim “The Mayor” Frost described the ride into RNC and gave us some tips about riding together safely. Ontario police led the way and we bid them farewell at I-60 heading for RNC. Traffic was a small issue but not bad and most drivers avoided riders by giving us plenty of room and right-of-way. We arrived safely and rode through RNC to park near the POW/MIA Memorial.
Jim Frost arranged for several speakers to tell their stories about how conflict has affected their lives. Peter Young, director of RNC Facilities discussed some of the details of the cemetery. There are over 300,000 veterans deterred there. They average 35 burials per day. They are the busiest National Cemetery in the nation and will soon be the largest National Cemetery in the nation. Several speakers told stories of family members that were left behind as POWs and never returned. Our government has in large part, turned their back and forgotten them. Part of our responsibility as Run For The Wall members is to bring awareness to the public and demand government accountability for our POWs and MIAs.
The POW/MIA Memorial was designed and created by Lee Millet Jr. Here’s some info about the memorial. “The Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National Memorial was designated as a national memorial by the U.S. Congress in 2004 through Public Law 108-454. The memorial was dedicated on September 16, 2005. Vietnam veteran Lewis Lee Millett, Jr., sculpted the bronze statue which depicts an American serviceman on his knees with hands bound by his captors. The statue is surrounded by black marble pillars that evoke imprisonment.”
Lee spoke about current POWs condition and how the government has done relatively nothing to determine their status and bring them home. We were moved by the all the talks about POWs left behind.
The Mayor did a great job pulling this mission to RNC together. Run For The Wall is all about getting accountability for all our POWs and MIAs. James “Gunny” Gregory and Bill Evans began RFTW in 1989 as a mission to bring awareness to the public and the government about our POWs that never returned and still need to be. We will continue to apply pressure to that effect as long as it takes.
In the afternoon, we were all asked to assemble in the parking lot adjacent to the host hotel for a mandatory meeting. The First Marine Band played several familiar songs and marches with precision and finesse. Beautiful stuff. President Williams spoke to the group as well as each of the Route Coordinators. There were several plaques presented and then Hard Charger presented the Combat Veteran Bike build. Sgt Dylan Gray was more than grateful for the amazing new bike he received and he got right on and rode it around the parking lot like he was born to do just that. What an amazing act of kindness was presented to this combat veteran. A mode of transportation custom built to match his abilities to operate the bike, unbelievable. Those responsible for providing this custom motorcycle to Sgt Gray deserve all the applause and kudos they received at the least.
Later all were briefed by our Road Guard Captain Ken Dugas “Six String”. He told us all what to expect the next day and along the ride. He went over signals, safety and most every aspect of our trip to Flagstaff, AZ tomorrow. Following Six String’s brief and a session of questions and answers, all were released to be briefed by their Platoon Leaders. With all this out of the way, tomorrow should be easier to get on the road together than we did last year. It begins tomorrow.
“We Ride For Those That Can’t”
Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Platoon 5 Leader / Midway Route SitRep Writer
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