Day 11 – May 27 – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
I was up early enough to hear the FNGs preparing for their ride into Arlington and then saw them off. What an honor for them to participate in this event. Memories from their visit will remain with them forever. Mine do, like it was yesterday. We were quite arriving. We were not hurried. We spoke in whispers if at all and looked with serious faces at those that spoke irreverently. I walked among many headstones and felt overwhelming peace and reverence. This is hallowed ground, in point of fact.
No morning mandatory meeting, no five minute horn, no Pledge of Allegiance which I miss and no chaplain’s prayer which I especially miss. I did say my own prayer however, one of thanks for helping me make it here safely as well as my platoon and all our company. About 0930 I headed over to the Lincoln Memorial with a friend and walked the grounds to take some photos. We found the vendors north of The Wall and checked them out. Did you find the Bayer Aspirin booth? If so, you know why I mention it. If not, you get to guess. I saw quite a few RFTW folks and talked with a few other people there also wandering the grounds. Some asked about Run For The Wall and I was happy to tell them about it. It started out a great day. I found many friends from all three routes and shared hellos and hugs. Just before our picture was taken a man stood and started singing God Bless America. We all joined in. I thought we sounded pretty good, but I didn’t have my hearing aids in either. Then on the bull horn “5 minutes”. Then 10 minutes later “2 minutes”. Then 5 minutes later we all posed but the photo had already been taken. Timing is everything. I wonder how it will turn out. “Like my photographer friend Ken says “It is what it is”.
With the group photo concluded. We all headed to The Wall. Although it wasn’t hot like other years, the line moved slow, but that’s the way it moves and that’s what we are here to do. I finished walking the wall for me and my good friend Paladin that couldn’t be here but wanted to and asked me to say high to his buddies on the Wall for him, which I did. At the end of the walk, I found my good friend Joe Hudson and he received my grateful hug and I his. I think I was late getting to the end of The Wall so unfortunately I didn’t get to turn any FNG pins. Got some great pics however. More hugs. Many “be safe” farewells. It started out a great day and ended a spectacular day at The Wall.
Charlie Mike – Run For The Wall. Let’s start making ready for 2018.
On a less somber note: Is it just me or is it impossible to find your way out of DC? I hear lots of folks say they take ubers or taxis because there’s no parking. Maybe that’s true, but maybe they don’t want to get lost like all the rest of us. It is my experience that you can get lost even if you have your GPS preprogrammed for a quick escape. I did finally escape, but nowhere near the time my GPS indicated. The ride in was “interesting”. The guy I rode in with knows what I’m talking about. Sorry, not givin’ this one away, unless you ask I guess. Happy Run For The Wall everyone. Until 2018. Remember to keep the shiny side up!
Day 11 is in the books.
We Ride For Those That Can’t
Tom “Twotone” Lystrup – Platoon 6 Leader / SitRep Writer / firstname.lastname@example.org