Busy day today. Many more people poured in today. It all started with the ride into Riverside National Cemetery (RNC). All the bikes were lined up along the road ready to head out. The Pledge of Allegiance was signed by Alisa and Ashley as in previous years. Prayer was offered for a safe ride and FNGs were welcomed. Jim “The Mayor” Frost described the ride into RNC and gave some tips about riding together. Ontario police led the way and departed at I-60. Traffic was not bad and most drivers avoided us giving riders plenty of room and right-of-way. We arrived safely and rode through RNC to park near the Medal of Honor Memorial. Where the memorial was described in detail to everyone. There were visits to the other memorials like POW/MIA and KIA Memorials. If you haven’t been to RNC you don’t know what you’re missing. The memorials here are unique and inspiring. You need to plan to go next year.
Peter Young, director of RNC Facilities was present to discuss some of the details of the cemetery. There are over 300,000 veterans deterred here. 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 turned their back to them 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.
Here’s some info about the POW/MIA 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.”
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 for as long as it takes.
At 1330 was the Combat Bike Build. If you were there you know the level at which this bike screams amazingness. Jim “Curly” Grafner donated the bike for the build, but there was not much of the original bike left after designers and craftsman completed this work of art. John Barker told me this was going to be the biggest unveiling in history and it certainly was. Thanks John for coordinating this activity and making this happen. I don’t even have words.
In the afternoon, we were all asked to assemble in the adjacent parking lot to the host hotel for a mandatory meeting. President Williams spoke to the group as well The Commanded of the Marine Corps Logistic Center in Barstow, Ca. We’ll be riding through the base tomorrow. Also each of the Route Coordinators spoke to us and welcomed all FNGs and leadership.
Later all were briefed by our individual ride leadership. We are one mission, 4 Routes. Now including the Sandbox Route. We learned what to expect the next day and along the ride. He went over signals, safety and most every aspect of what would be our trip to Flagstaff, AZ tomorrow and beyond. Following this briefing, all were released to be briefed by perspective platoon leaders. As a platoon leader, my team and I briefed riders assigned to our platoon. We emphasised riding together as safely as possible and as a cohesive unit. With all this out of the way, tomorrow should be easier to get on the road together and to our first stop in Ludlow. It all begins tomorrow. Are you ready for Run For The Wall?
“We Ride For Those That Can’t”
Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Midway Route SitRep Writer
I’d appreciate your comments. For those that have emailed me their comments, my thanks and my love to you all.