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SR Day 6. Monday, May 22nd

Our day started at the Sam’s parking lot, with breakfast from both McDonald’s and the Sam’s club.  The weather was perfect, and everyone seemed energized—ready to rock and roll!  Our morning briefing turned out to be special, though.  We heard inspiring words from the McDonald’s representative, who is also active duty Louisiana National Guard.  Then, Gonzo presented Sgt. Major with a new road name patch——“Retread”… with the story behind it.. 😏. But when Santa Ed got up and spoke about why he rides, and told us of his struggles throughout the years as a Vietnam veteran, man…there were a lot of misty eyes….

Before we headed out of town, we stopped at City Hall for a wreath laying at their war memorial.  This is a peaceful, lovely tribute park to the veterans. 

Off to Jackson, MS, and man, do we get escorted when we hit the Mississippi line!   State MC police, as well as other MC LEO’s are everywhere!  And they will be with us for the long haul.   We make it to the Harley dealership of Earl Rottmann.  Earl has been a passionate supporter of RFTW since back in 2003.  Guests included many dignitaries, 1 of the 3 surviving Tuskegee airmen and other WW2 heroes.  Our own Joe “Gump” Hudson was the keynote speaker!  As a POW rescued in April, 2003, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, he told his story of his captivity and rescue.  It was indeed powerful to hear.  And for us old-timers that remember Jack Lucas, the Medal of Honor recipient that was here every year until his death, we learned that his RFTW vest will be given to the ship named after him (USS Jack H, Lucas, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer), during its commissioning in the Fall.  The vest is enclosed in a glass case & will be on that ship from now on.  Another lump in my throat, as I got to know him in those earlier years.    The Trail of Honor was also open, again, for those to go through it.  This is an awesome tribute to the soldiers of every war we’ve been in, and it’s so fascinating in the historical aspect.  

At 3 o’clock, we’re off to Meridian, MS, and the Ag Center.  Woohoo! Today is laundry day, where we get all our dirty clothes laundered for free, compliments of The Wash House. The Wash House of Meridian, (owners are George and Sue Warner) have been doing our laundry for close to 20 years!  It is truly a blessing that we treasure.  The Ag Center is always buzzing with excitement when we come, as the local bike clubs, and even the Boy Scouts come out to help serve and welcome us.   We had some really great brisket & barbecued chicken— & homemade peach cobbler.   Another evening down—luckily we have a nice, long evening to relax.  

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