Thursday, May 22, 2014

Run For The Wall turning heads on way to Vietnam memorial

The first sign that they were coming was the sound. It was thunderous. On the western horizon, a commanding and majestic display of red and blue flashing strobes became visible on the highway. The escort convoy approached with hundreds of motorcycles trailing behind in dual formation.

Run For The Wall was in town.

It was almost like the president of the United States was en route to meet with other world leaders. A full police escort – complete with motorcycles, SUVs and patrol cars – lead the way for the Run For The Wall bikers as they rolled down I-70 in front of the OOIDA headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo. You could virtually see the pride radiating from Missouri’s finest. Along the side of the highway, employees cheered while waving American flags.

“If you don’t get goose bumps when you come up on all that, you’re just not an American. That’s all there is to it. Every time, you get a lump in your throat,” Run For The Wall participant Dewayne Howard of Springfield, Mo., said about the supporters on the route during a “Land Line Now” interview with Reed Black.

Earlier this week, approximately 900 bikers split into three groups, took off from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and headed toward the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., for the 26th annual Run For The Wall ride.

This weekend, the three groups will convene in Washington, D.C., and participate in the Rolling Thunder parade, along with a candlelight vigil.

The ride honors the Americans who were killed or missing in all wars, as well as our troops currently serving in the military.

Leslie Forgie of Wichita, Kan., has been riding in Run For The Wall since 2007. For her, the 2,200-mile journey is more than just some quick getaway.

“It was probably one of the biggest, life-changing experiences I’ve ever had,” Forgie told “Land Line Now” of her first ride. “I’ve always been taught to respect people in the military and respect veterans, as both my mother and father were Desert Storm veterans.”

Air Force veteran and OOIDA Member David Talley of Wausau, Wis., will be making his ninth run this year. Talley is one of several bikers who will be monitoring channel 19 on the CB to communicate with truckers on the route. The bikes will be moving five miles below the posted speed limit.

“It’s not a fun ride, it’s not a party, it’s not a rally. It’s a mission. We ride for those that can’t,” Talley said.

For more information on Run For The Wall, click here.