Greetings from Fort Worth, TEXAS!
“Enjoy your retirement” they said. “You’ll have more time at home” they said. “You won’t have to go to sea again” they said. Things often don’t go as expected – since retiring in July, I’ve spent 5 weeks at home and 4 weeks at sea! But the truth is, I have very much enjoyed my partial retirement – I’ve even grown a beard!
IS IT MAY YET?!?
As of this 01 DEC 2018, there are only 164 days until Kick Stands up on Wednesday, 15 MAY 2019! For those of you keeping score, that means we’re more than half way around the sun with only 5½ months to go. It’s never too early for the long-range planning of health, fitness, equipment, route and lodging. Speaking of lodging, I’m fielding a lot of e-mails asking about publication of the Hotel List…
Hotel List for the Run
For those who don’t know or may have filed the info away somewhere, the Hotel List for all routes is expected to publish on 01 JAN 2019. Your State coordinators are finishing up the final negotiations for a good group rate at several hotels local to each of our overnight stops. The Hotel Lists will be published on each Route’s respective Hub on the rftw.us web site. Your clue to its publication will be when the title changes from “Southern Route 2018 Hotels” to “Southern Route 2019 Hotels”.
RFTW President’s Message
If you haven’t done so, please take the time to read the RFTW President’s Message for NOV/DEC 2018 under the “Scuttlebutt” tab on the rftw.us main page. It’s terrible to think that one person’s reach for dollars nearly forced our setting aside this great Mission and relegating the Veterans and Patriots we support back to the dark days of silence and neglect. Like Easy said in his message, “…veterans suing veterans has consequences…” I can think of several combat analogies to that act, but none are pleasant and may even cause distress in the reading – I’ll not add to the pain. But the good news is we’re still on track despite this individual’s efforts and RFTW XXXI is getting ready to roll!
There’s always talk about the Run being more than a ride, and all of us who’ve lived it understand that. If your friend tells you it’s on their “Bucket List” when you talk about RFTW, just grin and tell them, “It’s time to fill the Bucket!” You and I both know this Mission quickly overflows that bucket and just like the old potato chip commercial said, “It’s hard to eat just one!” Besides, how many of you before RFTW knew that there was more out there and felt the need to re-connect with your family of service – whether military or civilian. You may have joined in that one leg of the Run and then decided to stay for another – and another while feeling there was something there that you couldn’t quite categorize. Then the next year you joined from your hometown to ride into DC and really grasped the magic. Then the next year – ALL THE WAY! The bottom line is that we all have a story of what led us to the Run, and it doesn’t matter if it was a Bucket List or a dire need to connect with your veteran family. I’ll be glad you’re here and I’ll be proud to ride with you for 1 leg, 1 day or ALL THE WAY! You’re all part of the story, part of the Mission and part of the Family!
While we’re thinking of the mission and being on track, it’s a good time to remember what that mission is…
The mission statement of Run For The Wall reads:
- 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
- To Support our military personnel all over the world
While we strongly emphasize the Mission when we’re on the Run, we all know in our hearts that the Mission is alive every day. When I read of Wizard’s weekly visitations with our honored veterans or Wonder Woman’s trips to DC to keep the MIA search in the focus of our government or see the way we as a nation pause to honor the passing of truly revered war Veteran and President – I know that spark is alive in more people than we realize. Our job, as we CONTINUE THE MISSION, is to keep feeding that spark and fan it to flame whenever and wherever we can.
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I’d like to wish a very joyous Christmas season to all my RFTW Family. As we reflect on the blessings of life and liberty that we all enjoy in the greatest nation on earth, we also remember those standing watch to ensure we may continue to do so. May God continue blessing each of us in the new year and guard us to safe pathways along the roads we ride.
TOGETHER WE RIDE!
Very best regards,
Billie “Bugs” Dunlap
Southern Route Coordinator
Run For The Wall XXXI