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

As usual, the day began with the morning rider’s meeting. After the prayer, pledge and anthem, Bugs gave out the thank you plaques to the community supporters. Sam’s Club employees took up a collection and donated $2,239.24. An amazingly wonderful gesture.

Thank you Radar for posing with the check. You’re a good sport and an excellent route coordinator assistant. Thank you for your service and sacrifice, you’re the best! ❤️

Our numbers increase with every passing day. Platoons 3, 4, 5 and 6 each have 30 riders. Our total platoon numbers are 229 bikes, fuel team 21, staging team 18, ambassadors 21, road guards 21, for a total route bike count of 289 ish. That does not include the two up riders or the support vehicles and volunteers.

Rode a short distance to the Monroe, LA City Hall, escorted by the Louisiana State Police. Just gotta say, they are very easy on the eyes 👀.

At Monroe, a newscaster requested an interview with a veteran. I asked “Strings” if he would talk to the reporter, he graciously agreed. During the interview, he said,

“Because of RFTW, I am proud of my service. I wasn’t proud of my service before going on the run.” I thought that was very profound. The healing power of the run is real and it works!

From Monroe, we rode across the mighty Mississippi River and into the great state of Mississippi. Where patriotism abounds! We made a quick fuel stop and picked up the Governor of Mississippi.

Billie “Bugs” Dunlap and Governor Phil Bryant

You have to see the ride into Jackson, to believe it. Helicopters meet the riders at the state border and circle over head as the riders make their way to the Jackson Harley Dealer. We were treated to a nice sack lunch and an excellent Quarterdeck Ceremony. I managed to get a copy of the dignitary list, and it’s impressive!

To highlight a few of the invited guests:

Floyd James “Jim” Thompson was a United States Army colonel. He was the longest held American prisoner of war in U.S. history, spending nearly nine years in captivity in the jungle camps and mountains of Vietnam and Laos, and in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Why we ride!

The keynote speaker was Major General James Livingston, three tours in Vietnam and the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. I pulled his bio from the Medal of Honor website. It was such an honor to be in the same room with him. I hope you will read the bio and recognize the extraordinary service he gave.

During his remarks he shared that there are currently only 70 Medal of Honor recipients left. He also said, “If we have to go to war, we have the finest military in the world.” AMEN to that!

After the ceremony, riders enjoyed touring The Trail of Honor. Earl of Jackson Harley Davidson brings in period, war reenactors, portraying the American Revolution up to and including World War II and Vietnam, including cannons.

A little situation occurred at Jackson. The Jackson stop is a little tricky. There isn’t a large parking lot to stage in, so every year much discussion takes place as to the best way to stage 300 motorcycles. I understand this year, hours of conversation took place. All I have to say is:

“WHERE OH WHERE HAS THE STAGING TEAM GONE, OH WHERE OH WHERE CAN THEY BE? WITH THEIR GPS ON THE FRITZ AND NO COMMS TO THEIR RANKS, OH WHERE OH WHERE CAN THEY BE?

Ambassador’s Report:

Today the Ambassadors visited the Museum that honors General Chennault & his acclaimed P40 Flying Aces. The American Volunteer Group, “The Flying Tigers”, combated Japanese bombing raids on China. The Chinese people continue to honor the General. “He saved our country” is an oft-repeated phrase spoken by all Chinese visitors.

In Closing:

“If we maintain our faith in God, love of freedom, and superior global air power, the future looks good.” General Curtis LeMay