Today was the culmination of each rider’s efforts to plan, begin, endure, and complete the mission. The RFTW as a whole completed the first three of four routes to ride for those who can’t. The Sandbox Route begins tomorrow.
The Central, Midway, and Southern Route riders gathered together for a photo on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and then walked the short distance to the Wall (Vietnam Veterans Memorial). Casual conversation and typical rider banter transitioned into a heavy silence as the weight of the moment settled upon each of us as we descended toward the apex. What conversation that did exist was conducted in hushed tones or in whispers in solemn honor of the more than 58,000 who gave their lives in Vietnam. FNGs sought out someone they rode with to have their FNG pin turned upside down to bear witness that they completed the mission. Each rider had his or her own personal experience with the wall. Some took rubbings of the names of those they rode for, others left mementos, while still others remembered their own family members who laid down their lives for their country. All of these activities took place as dim reflections against the polished granite with the etched names of the fallen. I think it is fitting that one can not perfectly see their reflection in the Wall. Instead, everything that transpires at the Wall is witnessed through the lens of sacrifice. Sacrifice always has a name. At the Wall, sacrifice has 58,000.
It has been an honor to bring you this SitRep each day. I have done it for those who could not be with us, and in remembrance of all who have gone before us.
Redleg: Daniel W. Slocum, CPT FA, USAR Ret.
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