Name: Bryan Merritt
City: Vine Grove
While I was deployed to Afghanistan I had already made up my mind that I was buying a Harley. I finally decided on the Fatboy. I returned in September of 2009 and my bike arrived in October of 2009. While I was working at Fort Knox, a friend of mine mentioned the RFTW and I inquired but waited to do the online registration so I had to register in the morning while they were in Corydon IN. As soon as I got there to register I realized that everyone there was family because hugs were coming from everywhere. I was basically keeping it under cover that I was still on active duty. Not that I am ashamed of it but it just never came up in a conversation. But also let me say this, I am still on active duty and my plans are to attend 2011. If my wife is going to go then I will link up again in Corydon but if not I will take the Southern Route and link up in TN.
I loved the entire run but mostly enjoyed Rainelle. The looks on the kids faces when we arrived and the entire time we were in the gym handing out things. I also loved the fact the town opened up and accepted us all in as family. The thunderstorm that came through was Gods way of cooling us off.
When we arrived in DC I was running around like a little kid not knowing what to do until I linked up with some of the ones who had been there several times. Then we went to Arlington and then to the wall. I had heard several stories about the feeling but never knew until I got there. As soon as you start down the trail to the wall it feels like everyone who is on the wall is standing there watching you. This is one memory that I will keep with me forever.
My advice to anyone, if you have never been then you need to go. I had always heard stories growing up about the Vietnam Vets being crazy and all these other stories. When I took this ride I realized as a Vet that they are going through the same crap that we are going through. So from one Vet to others, don’t ever feel like you are the only one suffering from whatever it is. Take the ride and talk with the other Vets around you and you will see. Also don’t think of them as strangers but think of them as
your brothers and sisters.