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Southern Route 2024 SitReps – Day 6 – Run For The Wall

Day 6 – Southern Route; Monroe, LA to Meridian, MS

Again, a good day!  We were blessed with good weather (knocking on wood here).  The first stop was at a memorial in Monroe with dignitaries speaking to us along with a bag pipe player that was good.  A good breakfast in the Sam’s Club parking lot and then on the road again.  At our first fuel stop, I was looking for shade and started talking with a couple of the guys hanging out there, enjoying the shade.  Jake sees my name tag and asks if I’m the Boots writing the SitReps and after confirming that, he tells me his wife is reading them in Phoenix area and they made her cry some.  Wow, that was powerful and cool to hear.  First, people are actually reading this and it seems to be hitting home some.  Jake’s wife, Thank You and towards the bottom you’ll see a pic of Jake and I.  It’s difficult to articulate the feelings we experience as we go through this annual adventure.  The towns we stop at are so welcoming and really pleased to see us.  We are a bunch of sweaty bikers coming off the highway and these people are giving us big hugs, feeding us, often laying out big displays of home baked goodies, everything is decorated well and thanking us for what we’re doing and our service.  It means a lot to us and I’m getting that our visits mean a lot to them.  They appreciate that we are doing our mission to remember those that can’t ride, those that were lost or wounded and not just physical wounds.  ( It allows them to talk about the loved ones they lost and hear stories from us as we have connections of being in the service and know the areas of the world that their loved ones had been.  Taking care of us as we pass through makes their week special or, maybe even longer.  As we go East, it seems to be building.  In Louisiana, we had LEO escort all the way through the state.  As mentioned yesterday, that helps with a level of safety for everyone in the pack.  Today, when we hit Mississippi, we had 2 helicopters escort us about 60 miles AND, there were probably 30 motor cops with bright blue flashing lights that literally shut down highway 20 by blocking all the entrances to the highway until we passed by.  Then, prior to coming into the city of Meridian, MS, there were fire trucks, often with huge flags, and lots of people on EVERY overpass, probably 25 of them, waving at us and it seemed to grow as we came into Meridian.  To witness that; was amazing.

Back to the lunch stop.  We stopped at the Harley Davidson of Jackson Dealership.  They have been welcoming the RFTW at this dealership for a many years.  This year we learned it’s probably the last year as the dealership is being sold to a new owner.  We’re not sure if the new owner will be as supportive as Earle has been.  We’ll find out next year.  And, there were dignitaries there to speak to us.  The former governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant spoke to us and we found out he rides.  The Governor introduced Col Keith Lewis.  Col. Lewis was interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam after he was shot down on 10/5/1972 and was held until his release on 3/29/1973.  Col Lewis was presented the Legion of Merit by the President of the United States and an Act of Congress.  Col Lewis told us some stories about his being shot down, parachuting and ending up as a POW.  He always kept a positive attitude During this period, the leadership, exemplary foresight, and ceaseless efforts consistently demonstrated by Chaplain Lewis resulted in significant contributions to the well-being of fellow Americans.

Then we went into Meridian and came into the Lauderdale County Agriculture Pavilion.  We had presentations to Thank the organizations that contributed foods and other services.  There were so many people including a large Boy Scout Troop helping to do whatever needed doing.  There is a group from Florida that come up on day 6 every year with a tractor trailer truck filled with washing machines and dryers to do our laundry.  Apparently, they respond to National Disasters of all types to help people with this service.  We were handed a bag with our name on it and tomorrow morning, they will be handed back with clean and folded clothes.  The dinner was wonderful, very tasty.  lots of homemade deserts.  It was cool.  Thank You to everyone involved.


The serving line at the Lauderdale Agri Pavilion

Free entertainment, and these gys were good!

Delicious dinner!

Presentations at lunch

Col Lewis, Vietnam POW who came home and learned how to comfort soldiers that needed it.

One of the wonderful nurses that are with us to help if needed.

Introductions of the dignitaries that came to visit with us.

Our first missing man of the day.

Jake and I doing a selfies after hearing about his wife reading these posts.

1 thought on “Southern Route 2024 SitReps – Day 6 – Run For The Wall

  1. Sure wish I was with you all, I rode 11 times with the Southern Route, Mw and my wife.. Speedy and Pooh

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