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Southern Route 2024 SitReps – Day 9 – Run For The Wall

Day 9 – Southern Route; Wytheville, VA to Lynchburg, VA

Another good day!  Some rain threatened towards the end of the day and during dinner at the Harley Davidson of Lynchburg dealership, it did start raining but it didn’t last very long.  Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty good weather wise.  Today we started at Wither’s Park in Wytheville.  There were good breakfast sandwiches and the entertainment was outstanding.  The entire elementary school came down with a large group singing to us.  Being a grandparent, you learn how important these things are and how hard it is for kids to be taught and cajoled into putting on shows like that, but they did very well.  Typical Wytheville, it seems like the whole town came out to greet us and wish us well.  I had the honor to ride side by side with the Former Mayor of Wytheville, Mayor Crewe, from Wytheville to Montvale.  We had a discussion, once we got to Montvale, about the difficulty of explaining what it’s like to be part of this run to people that have not participated.  We agreed, you have to experience it to really get it.  If you’re reading this and have not joined us, please consider riding with us for a day and become part of the RFTW family.  We cross the entire country with 3 routes to choose from so chances are, you’re not that far away.

Then, we were off to Montvale for fuel and on onto the Montvale Elementary school.  This school is an amazing school.  There’s a new window privacy covering to the cafeteria that was added recently with the assistance of RFTW donations.  Today, a good-sized check was given to the school from RFTW and they treated us very well.  There’s something about the patriotism displayed by the kids that is heartwarming.  Along with greetings, we had a nice lunch, we had a show put on for us with the kids singing beautiful songs and they all knew the words!  There was a presentation from the local ROTC Honor Guard doing a funny bit from the old movie “Stripes” with Bill Murray.  In case you don’t remember, here is a link to the original movie version:  It was well done and fun to watch.  The school kids were great, they are learning the importance of patriotism.  That’s something other countries are teaching their children, but it seems to be fading in ours and it’s refreshing to see it here and in Wytheville and Montvale.  From Montvale, we went to the Bedford Virginia D-Day Memorial.  This is one of the most significant memorials along the route and I never heard of it prior to my RFTW experience in 2019.  D-Day was a significant turning point in World Wat II.  The Allied forces stormed the Beach and accomplished what was needed to get the enemy on the run.  Bedford VA was chosen as the place to construct this memorial because they lost more citizens, the towns children, per capita, than any other town in the entire country.  It’s impressive, it’s a wonderful learning experience and it really makes you think about the consequences of war.  There are 4,415 names on this wall, allied forces named from all the countries that fought in this battle and died.  The four thousand plus names were collected over the month from when this battle started.  Each and every name of all the soldiers that died in this battle, from all countries, are on the plaques pictured below.  The artist and others that were involved in this park also have displays that are significant in displaying what it was like to be there, maybe just a little bit, but enough to take you out of your comfort zone to understand the impact of war and what it might feel like to be part of a battle like this.  Seeing these displays, seeing all the names of soldiers that died to protect our freedom, it can be overwhelming.  If you haven’t seen the series on Apple TV called Masters of the Air, it’s a high recommend.  There are pictures below, I hope you enjoy.  Tomorrow is our last day of traveling to DC as a group but we will be gathering at the Vietnam Veterans Wall on Saturday and head out on our own from there.  Some are continuing onto the Sandbox Route which is a similar ride to Versaille, Illinois to the Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall.


USAF – ’72 – ‘75

Montvale kids as we come into the school circle

Good read about the Bedford Boys

Wytheville students coming from the school to Withers Park

The Bedford D-Day Memorial Wall with all the names of those who died in this invasion.

One of many plaques that are interesting reading

One of many plaques that are interesting reading

Another view ponit of the wall of names

If you look close, you can see water spouts from “bullets” hitting the water close to the troops

Landing on the beach

Climbing up the bunkers

The Montvale ROTC cadets putting on a show for us with a scene from Stripes

Our Route Coordinator recognizing the Montvale Principal and thanking them for their support.

The Montvale students singing songs to us

The Montvale ROTC Cadets putting on their show

The group of students in a panoramic shot

Another pic of the students as they are singing to us

The program to the show – 1 of 3

The program of the show – 3 of 3

The program of the show – 2 of 3

Looking down one of the hallways of the school – lots of art work displayed

Getting ready to enter the school

The entrance of the school

Wytheville students singing to us

Our professional Photographer who is hard to capture in a picture as he is always moving around taking great pictures of everyone from so many angles, Go Jerry!

A seasoned office of the Virginia State Police getting an FNG button for his first time escorting the pack.

The Wytheville students

Our Risk Management Officer handing out bracelets to the children coming down the hill to Withers Park

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