Name: Hilda Hickman
FNG PIN UPSIDE DOWN–2010
It was a gray, cold day in January 2010 when my husband, Charlie R. Hickman, US Army Retired, and I, his wife of 43 years, started making plans to ride with the “RUN FOR THE WALL” group to Washington DC. We had rode for the past two years with a group in Sevierville TN to the top of Clinch Mountain on Memorial Day to honor all veterans. We loved it and thought we were ready to go on the “big one.” We are both 64 years old and the thought crossed our minds that we are not getting any younger. We talked friends Tim Johnson and Sue Logan into riding along with us. Registration was done online, motel reservations were made, luggage racks and flag poles were bought for the bikes, other preparations were completed and the waiting began.
Like children waiting for Christmas, I thought May would never come. It finally did and on May 26th we were up early and heading to Wytheville VA to meet up with the riders coming from Chattanooga TN. We were ahead of them so when we arrived in Wytheville we went to the park and watched as they rode into town. That evening we were officially pinned as FNGs and welcomed into the “RUN FOR THE WALL” family.
From then until the ride ended in Washington DC our experience could not have been better. Never a question went unanswered. It was the best organized event I have ever been involved with. If I had to describe it in one word that word would be, SMOOTH. Although we knew from the outset it was not a party, it was a mission, the leaders made it fun along the way. The outpouring of love and support from the people along the way was amazing. People standing shoulder to shoulder on bridge overpasses, cranes with Old Glory proudly flapping in the breeze high above the street, children standing in front of schools waving and giving thumbs up, WWII vets in their wheelchairs smiling and saluting as we rode by. The miles of motorcycles were a sight to see and so were the people from all walks of life who had carved out time in their busy day to pay their respects to those who served in the Armed Forces of their country. Patriotism is alive and well along the highways and byways of small town America. I want to take this opportunity to say “THANK YOU” to all who gave of their time and talents to organize and work out the many details of making “RUN FOR THE WALL” the great American Tradition it has become. My husband’s goal is to be in CA and ride “all the way” in 2011. I will be the one waiting in Wytheville ready to join him and ride on to DC. Again “THANK YOU” all for making us feel welcome on our FNG ride with “RUN FOR THE WALL.” See you in 2011.