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May 25, 2024 – In Washington DC

May 25, 2024 – In Washington DC

It was a beautiful day.  Started at 65 and hit the mid 80s. 

The last few years the Run has not had the opportunity to ride into

Arlington Cemetery. This year we can. We have a limited

number of bikes allowed. Each bike has an FNG and they

must have a passenger. I had the honor to ride in.

We stage in the garage of the host hotel. Do you know how loud

it can get in a garage with all those bikes. It sounded awesome

…. but also loud.

We roll out….
As soon as we enter the cemetery, and see all these gravestones, your heart just sinks.
Look at all those that have died for our freedom.


Run For The Wall has an honor guard place a wreath in section 60.
This is also where 3 of the 13 killed in Afghanistan are buried.
You could hear a pin drop.  Not even the birds were singing.


This couple here had picked up the bio of one of the ones on the stone.
We were given special permissions to enter on the motorcycles. But once the ceremony was over, we had to leave.  Courtney, my niece and I, choose to walk around and meet family members.
One of the most sobering ceremonies is the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
As we head back to the bikes, there is one that has beautiful painting on it.  As I get closer, I see it has signatures.  The front fairing has signatures of gold star families. The remainder of the bike has the signature of veterans. It will be put into the California Harley Museum at the end of the mission
Here are the gentlemen riding to accomplish this.

Walking to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we pass field after field of tombstones.

Fun Fact:
Just before Memorial Day weekend, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (also known as The Old Guard) honors America’s fallen heroes by placing American flags at gravesites for service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery and the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. This tradition, known as “Flags In,” has taken place annually since the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment was designated as the Army’s official ceremonial unit in 1948. Every available soldier in the Old Guard participates, along with members of other service branches. They place small American flags in front of more than 260,000 headstones and at the bottom of about 7,000 niche rows. Each flag is inserted into the ground, exactly one boot length from the headstone’s base.
We get to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as they are ready to change the guards.  If you get the chance to see this, it is amazing. Here are a few pics.
Fun Fact:

The military guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is changed in an elaborate ceremony which happens every hour on the hour from October 1 through March 31, and every half hour from April 1 through September 30.

Twenty-four hours a day, soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” stand watch over the Tomb. The Tomb Guards, also called Sentinels, are chosen for this prestigious and highly selective post only after rigorous training and a demanding series of examinations (see below). The Old Guard has held this distinguished duty since 1948.

The Tomb Guard marches exactly 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process.  (The number 21 symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed, the 21-gun salute.) Next, the Sentinel executes a sharp “shoulder-arms” movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors, signifying that he or she stands between the Tomb and any possible threat.


Next, we head to the Lincoln Memorial for group a picture.  Normally we get pictures on the steps, but they are under repair, so we stand on the plaza in front of the Reflection Pool in front of the Washington Monument. Do you see me?  I am there 3rd last maroon hat on the left.

Most of the riders are carrying bios, cards, trinkets …. to be placed at the Wall.  All these items are collected and placed in storage.  When we were at Robley Rex Veterans Hospital, Popcorn Billy gave me an article to be placed at there.  It was an article about his twin brother that was killed in Vietnam.  Here is that article.

We found the panel and placed the article.  Looks like someone else was already there because we saw a bag of popcorn sitting there.  Billy loved his brother and every year we go to the hospital, he talks about him.

It has been a very long journey to get here. 

The RFTW Plaque is placed at the apex of the Vietnam Wall.


When you are an FNG you have an FNG pin.  This allows everyone to know you are a first-time rider and you get lots of hugs.  Once you have reached the wall, you have someone turn your pin upside down to signify you have completed.

As we are all walking the Wall, Kim, Nick’s wife, starts playing her bagpipes.  It echoes thru the area and many stop and listen.  She played several songs including God Bless America, and Amazing Grace. Where are the tissues when you need them? 




Just some quick info on Kim, and how much she embraces the military and how much she is respected.


Pipe Major Kim Greeley – Storm Watch – born in Hawai’i, has been piping since she was 11 years old. Kim has studied and performed piping in Hawai’i, on the mainland, in Canada, and in the United Kingdom. Apart from numerous concerts and competitions, Kim has performed for military retirement celebrations, military funerals, and repatriation ceremonies. She is the piper on call for repatriation services at the National Cemetery of the Pacific. She also piped for the 9/11, WWI and WWII worldwide remembrance events. Kim’s largest concert is the annual one for the Riders of  the Run For The Wall gathering at the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day weekend. Kim has coordinated her performances with airplane and helicopter flyovers, parachute drops, presentations by government and military dignitaries, and other bands. Kim, along with pipers in her band, played for the interment of Lauren F. Bruner, the last crew member who will ever be returned to the U.S.S. Arizona at Pearl Harbor – coordinating the performance on Ford Island with the military divers as they returned Mr. Bruner’s ashes to the battleship.


Thanks, Kim, for being part of our missions and making it so special


Somewhere on this incredible journey, we had a speaker that said this, and it really stuck:

Teach all to honor those that protect our country.
Always be loyal to those serving.
And never leave anyone behind.
So therefore, the Run must never stop.

POW / MIA Poem

We need to remember them every day.

They went to fight in a place so far away,

They gave their all when their country sent out a call

Not ever knowing that their name would end up on the wall,

No matter how we honor them no matter what we do

We should always remember that they paid the highest price

For the red, white and blue.

So when you look up at the flag flying in the wind on a clear blue day

Remember it’s there because of the



I hope this blog has given you some idea of our mission. It is a grueling trip.   Long day, short night, 4;30 AM wake up calls…. This starts to wear on you.  Our trip was only 10 days.  Think of our troops in extreme hot and cold days.  They have a lack of sleep, long days……they stand to keep us safe a lot longer than 10 days.

Here are a few fun facts about our trip

 – Temperature ranged 32-103

 – We traveled in 14 states + Washington DC
– From Loveland, OH to Ontario, CA to DC to Loveland, OH – 6402 miles
– Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers.

We did not pay for meals on our mission. Every town we stayed in welcomed us, fed us, and prayed for our safety.  The support, encouragement, respect that the Americans have for the mission is incredible.  There is an unbelievable amount of time hanging banners, kids making bracelets, making pocket patches, hanging flags on the overpasses, closing down streets, organizing volunteers for meals, setting up fuel stops. and the list goes on.

100s, 1000s of hours given by so many to make this happen: route coordinator, state coordinators, missing man coordinator, staging team, fuel team, hydration team, road guards, medical personnel…..and the riders themselves.  The logistics to get that many people across the country has to be done by so many

We continually asked each other: What time is it? What time zone are we in? What day is it? What state are we in?  But there is one thing we knew the answer to: what was our mission?

Mission Statement of RFTW : To promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA), to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world

I have sent many quotes thru the last 10 days.  Here are my last two:

         U – Unselfish

      S – Service to

      A – America

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.

Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

                      General George Patton

On the Run, we said the Pledge every day.  I see our flag and have taken pictures of it all week. Every time I see it waving in the air, it is telling me I am free.  And that right is protected by our men and women.  Let’s continue to try and bring them all home.



One more set of prayers please, and that is to get everyone home safely from DC and continue to pray for all service men and women, past and present.

I leave you with 2 songs that really hit home with our Men and Women that server:


Proud to be an American (by: Lee Greenwood)

If tomorrow all the things were gone

I’d worked for all my life

And I had to start again

With just my children and my wife

I’d thank my lucky stars

To be living here today

Cause the flag still stands for freedom

And they can’t take that away


 And I’m proud to be an American

Where at least I know I’m free

And I won’t forget the men who died

Who gave that right to me

And I gladly stand up

Next to you and defend her still today

Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land

God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota

To the hills of Tennessee

Across the plains of Texas

From sea to shining sea
From Detroit down to Houston,

And New York to L.A

Well there’s pride in every American heart

And its time we stand and say

That I’m proud to be an American

Where at least I know I’m free

And I won’t forget the men who died

Who gave that right to me

And I gladly stand up

Next to you and defend her still today

Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land



I’m just trying to be a father

Raise a daughter and a son

Be a lover to their mother

Everything to everyone

Up and at ’em bright and early

I’m all business in my suit

Yeah, I’m dressed for success

From my head down to my boots

I don’t do it for the money

There’s bills that I can’t pay

I don’t do it for the glory

I just do it anyway

Providing for our futures

My responsibility

Yeah, I’m real good under pressure

Being all that I can be

And I can’t call in sick on Mondays

When the weekend’s been too strong

I just work straight through the holidays

And sometimes all night long

You can bet that I stand ready

When the wolf growls at the door

Hey, I’m solid, hey I’m steady

Hey, I’m true down to the core

And I will always do my duty

No matter what the price

I’ve counted up the cost

I know the sacrifice

Oh, and I don’t want to die for you

But if dyin’s asked of me

I’ll bear that cross with honor

‘Cause freedom don’t come free

I’m an American soldier

An American

Beside my brothers and my sisters

I will proudly take a stand

When liberty’s in jeopardy

I will always do what’s right

I’m out here on the front lines

Sleep in peace tonight

American soldier

I’m an American soldier


God bless the USA.



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