Wow, what a day! We only had 200+ miles to go today and it was an easy run. When we awoke in Williams there was frost on everything, including our bike’s seats and windshields and the sun took it’s sweet time melting it off.
First morning of the raffle rouser doing the 50/50 and Dallas and company raised about $800.00 for the Rainelle school.
Let me here address the FNG pins for a moment. FNG stands for Funny New Guy (or Gal) and it is given to everyone on their first sign up and it is to be worn where easily seen by all. It is a ticket to many advantages such as lots of hugs by “old timers”, some times a pass to the head of the chow line and it is a symbol of great triumph when you get to the wall the first time. When there, get someone close to you (perhaps a platoon leader who put up with you the whole way) to in pin it and turn it upside down. It becomes a badge of honor and you will have completed what many people never get the chance to do even once, so enjoy.
One of my jobs as sit rep, I think, is to bring you stories that give you some insight into the “spirit” of the RUN. You can get all the facts about where we went and the places we visited and the miles we travel from the web site. So, one thing you can’t get is Run Life stories.
Here are a few: I was almost overwhelmed today as we headed out of Williams this morning thinking about all the people involved in this event that are really special people. On the CB radio we hear road names like Grizz, Dadbo, Smoke, Sunshine,EZ, Bones and Mrs. Bones, Tunnel Rat, Pretty Boy, and many others. These are just a few of the ones who make this RUN happen and they do it all so easily that it “looks” like a well oiled machine, although we know it is not always that way. These are dedicated people who give of their lives not just for a few weeks but some all year long to make this thing happen. Selfless people who would rather see us have an enjoyable time than be on their own pursuits. I think that is really amazing and worthy of our applause!!!!!!!!!!!
Our breakout platoon stopped at the Winslow 911 memorial just south of Winslow. It was sobering for me to see. Twisted metal that came from our buildings and a flag that flew over the Pentagon. It was a stark reminder of what was done, of the high price that was paid and is still being paid in soldier’s blood, families and certainly will be paid in the future. It is why we can never forget. We have a great country and we don’t need to apologize for it and those who want to tear it down must be stopped.
On to Holbrook, only about 40 miles and oh the great joy we had watching the children wave and get excited as we drove by. There were about 3 schools that had let there kids out to stand along the street or fences and we were able to connect in some small way. Our Ambassador platoon does more than just ride by as they go into the schools and set up times to talk to the kids about the wars and the prisoners that are not home and when it is done, it makes a great impact. See, here is another example of dedication, Sonja and Eric Ammon are dedicated leaders of the Ambassador platoon, who plot and plan all year just to be able to meet with the kids if only for a few minutes. This is what makes this RUN special and what helps make this country great!
As we were getting ready to go inside and have our lunch, a lady (Collene) leaned over the wall outside and told me that last year when we were at this location, she was in the cemetery next door burying her brother, Donald Martinez who was a marine and she has another brother, Ronald Martinez. What she really appreciated is that some of our group last year left the meeting room and went next door to put some special flags on his grave. I think that is pretty cool. I am glad for the moment that God brings us to that I can meet people like her.
The last stop is Gallup NM. We were greeted for over 8 miles of dear people along the sides of the road that were waving flags and cheering for our men and women. We were also escorted into town by NM State motorcyclist and we will also have them for all day tomorrow. They really move quickly when they need to and me thinks it is somewhat of a game for them.
Gallup, NM. is a favorite for many of the riders because of the Navajo Nation’s presentation for us. The program was put on by the Black Creek Gourd Society. The Navajos believe the warrior is the top of the ladder in their world. In English warriors translates to soldiers and the Navajos show and incredible respect for the Veterans on the Run For The Wall. At one part of the program they ask the riders to join them. It is quite a site to see 200 bikers in leathers doing their dance. Comical maybe but oh so very sincere. They show us a level of respect that few people understand. I dare say if you were not there we could not explain it. They are very serious about the concept of our soldiers and their warriors are one. (Last paragraph by Dan Koster)
Okay, until tomorrow, happy trails!