The day dawned early for participants in Rolling Thunder. Staging began 5:45 am in the underground parking garage. SR road guards were responsible for escorting RT participants to the Pentagon parking lot this year. The responsibilities rotate every year.
After a quick ride over to the Pentagon, it’s a long wait for the ride to begin. The first rider rolls out of the Pentagon parking lot at 12:00 pm. It makes for a very long day. Disclaimer, I did not participate in the actual Rolling Thunder ride this year. I did go down to the mall to Thunder Alley (row of vendors) and walked around the mall during the event. Things get a little crazy down there. Nothing like Sturgis crazy, every one is respectful, and kind. Looking at the vests, most riders are veterans or supporters of veterans.
We walked over to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. I did not go with RFTW yesterday, it was a little too crowded and I needed a little space. As you can imagine, I am a little tired and my emotions are a little raw. We had a pleasant visit at the wall tonight. Lots of people paying their respects but there was a little breathing room.
A few photos from today and yesterday:
I ended up with the “Mission Accomplished” plaque in my room. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to snap a couple photos with it. To all my fellow DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) members. Thank you for your support and encouragement. The plaque is right next to the DAR patch on my vest.
Yesterday, the “mission accomplished” plaque was laid at the apex of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial.
This year I carried tributes of three KIA from the Vietnam Conflict. Two of the soldiers, I have POW/MIA bracelets for. I purchased them from Alice Kraatz, Michigan CAR (Children of the American Revolution) project. Alice is raising funds to send Vietnam Veterans on Honor Flights to Washington DC, to their memorial. If so inclined, please visit her webpage and purchase a bracelet. All proceeds go to Honor Flight.
The other tribute I carried, Richard Swayze, he is the Uncle/brother-in-law of my California DAR friends. He is not forgotten!
In Memory if the Men & Women that served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We all know many of these and continue to honor them and remember them.
A beautiful statue and reminder of the soldiers that served, boots on the ground in Vietnam.
I thought this “Boots on the Ground” tribute from American Legion Post 1, out of Jacksonville, Florida very powerful. More reminders of “why we ride”.
Well this wraps up the 2019 – Run for the Wall, sit-reps. This has been my third year serving as the Sit-Rep writer. I am not sure what next year will bring, if I will have this job or if it will be given to another rider. I’ve enjoyed sharing the run with you and hope you will tune in next year as we continue the mission of riding for those who can’t.
I am shamelessly going to plug the book I wrote, Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial. I wrote the book to raise awareness for the Run, for POW/MIAs and to support our veterans that feel so despondent that they are taking their own lives at the rate of 22 a day. The book can be ordered through the RFTW.us store and on my website at RFTWthebook.com or through Amazon. The book sells for $39.95, a fraction of what it cost to create the book. It’s a beautiful coffee table, pictorial of the run. If you know a veteran that needs the healing ride of the mission, I encourage you to send him a copy of the book Run for the Wall – A Journey to the Vietnam Memorial.
In closing: “The Bible says the angels of heaven are God’s army; When you stand in Arlington, you know God has a damn good one.” Anonymous
“CHARLIE MIKE – CONTINUE THE MISSION!” Jim “Stoney” RFTW XXVII SR RC
See you in 2020, May 13 – 22, 2020