Memorial — Augusta, Me
A very different Memorial. In the twitter photo it has the MCL Commandant and his wife who hosted me that night (THANK YOU). The Memorial has few words and zero names. 2 large wedged shaped slabs of iron — one black and one light colored. The black piece has the 3 figures cut out and the light colored piece offers a good contrasting background. There are two warriors helping an injured warrior. Even though that is a popular theme, it doesn’t get lost on anyone — warriors helping warriors. Not having any names (to me) makes you think of all those that we served with, but don’t have a clue as to who they were — other than brothers, family. The Band of Brothers is a Bond of Warriors — can never be changed. This Memorial says it very simply.
Memorial — Boscawen, NH
Surprisingly, this appears to be a small town but at their cemetery they have a very large Memorial dedicated to all the wars.
On the edge of the cemetery you have a wooded area with a paver stone walkway that menders thru th woods and has numerous markers — different branches (all represented) and in some cases, specific elements. All equal which is reflective of the States love for all veterans and the Warriors. I spent some quiet time at each marker — quiet tie is the hardest for me and the emotions build and erupt. I do not know why its always the same. I don’t think the idea of closure seems somewhat DISTANT!
I didn’t hang around very long. There was a Marine WWII Vet being buried and th Gunny in charge was fairly upset — plus thy had just lost 4 Marines from th tri state area. Thy may have all been from the same unit, the Gunny may havee known them (or one of them) but it was obvious that he was handling it as best as he could. I figured any questions might not help.
Memorial — Rutland, Vt
I’m not sure why this is called the Rutland, Vt Vietnam Memorial as its actually at the Sharon, VT Welcome Center on the freeway. When I was researching this route I assumed this would b a small Memorial (rest stop location). As they say, NEVER assume anything!
Large memorial, indoor and out, full time staff, know what they’re talking about and obviously care. What’s also cool is everyone that stops at this Welcome Center/Rest Stop gets to see this without having to go look for it. The on gent told me that some that are looking stopped for the facilities and then hung around to look at it. In the building they even have a timeline of the Vietnam War.
A long walk up an elevated path into a half moon wall of rock with some white squares sticking out from within the wall. Red, white and blue bunting all around with areas for one candle for EACH Vermont KIA (the white squares. The nite time photo’s I saw were very moving. This location is open 24/7/365. Not the most populated part of our country but ensures that many people get a chance to see it. A truck driver that was there (normal route for him) said that the word is passed on the CB to everyone to stop and see. I had the chance of talking to vets — one pre Vietnam, one Vietnam Corpsman. The differences ever though they were both vets was interesting. The non Vietnam Vet apologized for not being there — we both told him thre was nothing to apologize for — and we meant it. Survivors guilt I understand but this was not the same. Sad.
Some stats and answers
The ride overall has been quite good. I’m mostly cruising at the speed limit plus a little and I would say a 3rd of the ride has been off the freeway. Surface streets going thru the small towns are a lot more interesting then the freeways. Slower, but more entertaining. Twisties are always fun as they break up the ride a little. If you’re not careful, you can end up on a surface street with lots of stop signs or lites.
I’ve been very lucky with my overnite stops. An old boss and his wife hosted me one nite, the RFTW founder had me in (greta visit) and another RFTW Road Guard who opened up his doors to me. Two nites I spent at the Grand Summit Resort Hotel in Vermont — CEO is the brother of another PGR rider and good friend. Timing was perfect as its not only the day I scheduled as a down day, but it was also my 68th birthday. This plac would be a great weekend ride for more local bikers. In Maine I had a hotel courtesy of the MCL as well as a room in Florida provided by the MCL at a facility (non government) for our warriors. Rooms are critical as that is the most expensive part of this ride (other than if I have a breakdown). If I’m staying on my own, a can or two of Chef Boyrdee is fine. Heck, we lived on C Rations for 18 months in ‘Nam.
Weather has been great. A couple of really hot/dry days but mostly nice temperatures. One day, so far, of mostly rain — not fun but not bad. Worst part was the rain got the bike pretty dirty. It was fairly lite rain and I suited up and was only wet from the sweat of wearing the rain suit.
Some nice emails from people asking questions about everything Eagles Up does, about the Combat Hero Bike Build and about general veteran support. Its nice to see that people really are interested in the veterans.
I’ve met about 50 ‘Nam vets — shared some tears but made new friends. Also about another 50 bikers that are interested in doing the RFTW 2015 and possibly helping with the Combat Hero Bike Build. Plenty of time to save and get ready. Got some good info on surface routes for the next week or so.
Overall meeting lots of very nice and interesting people. I think I’ve taken several dozen pictures and will be forwarding to Dianne for her postings. I am tweeting photo’s to the web site.