Name: Pat “Bubblegum” Urban
City: Battle Ground
Run For The Wall Coordinators, Board of Directors and all of the Volunteers:
There are so many things I could say about the Run and I’m not sure I can do all of my memories justice. I’m afraid of leaving something out; but I will try to tell you in my words what the Run means to me now that it is over. What will stand out in my mind and memories are too many incidents to write — but for me, it was the people. The kids who made us hearts, wrote poems and gave us dog tags to take to The Wall. The people who love our country and expressed it by giving us hugs and telling us thank you over and over. Yup, it was the people: new friends we made who rode with us and those who asked if we were going to come back. And, it is more:
It was the lone man alongside the freeway standing at attention and saluting us in the desert outside of Phoenix.
It was the retired Marine standing in full dress blues saluting us as we rode into Jackson, MS.
It was the many, many people on overpasses and in the cities who took the time to greet us.
It was the pride in the American faces of adults, teenagers and children we met.
It was the privilege of meeting MOH, POW Veterans from WW2, Korea and Vietnam; Tuskegee Airmen and Navajo Code Talkers and a survivor from the Bataan Death March.
It was the camaraderie and love I felt as John was surrounded by his fellows at the Vietnam Memorial in Odessa, TX. with the wind howling and the sky with it’s dark clouds shooting lightening.
It was the interaction with the ride heroes: The Road Guards, Platoon Leaders and Tail Gunners, Advance Team and Chaplains.
It was the morning prayers.
It was the morning meetings.
It was smiling and giving a big Whoo Hoo to the fueling team.
It was the awesome hydration team.
It was being able to help in the merchandise trailer.
It was knowing the chase truck was there, just in case…
It was the pride I felt as my husband participated in RFTW Honor Guard.
It was the goosebumps I got when Shenandoah was played on the harmonica at Silverdale Civil War Confederate Cemetery.
It was the Vet who quilts.
It was the men who wore pink shirts to support another worthy cause.
It was the Road Guards who smiled at my pink sparkling helmet.
It was earning a Road name, “Bubblegum.”
It was the people we met and rode with side-by-side.
It was the Huey ride and feeling an overwhelming sense of pride in my husband as he hung out the gunner door..pumping his arms in the air and smiling and laughing and yelling, “YES!” ..reenacting his time in Vietnam as a door gunner.
It was walking hand in hand with my husband to The Wall, taking photos, rubbing names, gently putting down items and finally looking at The Wall from a distance and letting go.
It was knowing that for 10 glorious days on the road, I was a part of something so very special and that first ride as FNG will live in my heart forever.
For all of the work you have done over the years, as former FNG 2010 who rode all the way; Thank you!