06/28/14

Seems like every day my bike luggage is getting fatter and heavier! Beautiful start today. About 1/2 the run from the resort to Syracuse was surface streets. That country side is beautiful and right out of a Norman Rockwell picture. Streams, small quaint towns, friendly people, USA flags all over the place. No traffic so I was able to drive at comfortable speed, enjoy the views, pick out the dozen or so houses I’d buy, and relax, all at the same time. Weather couldn’t have been nicer — needed my jacket but very comfortable (I get cold easy so I just needed to take the edge off. When I got into downtown Syracuse, jacket off!

This is a very nice Memorial but is in a part of town with a lot of construction going on. When you drive by the GPS, detours/closed streets ar not fun. Its a street corner that is more a wedge than a “square” turn and unless you were looking for it, you would just see something nice — the only sign about the Memorial is small and you must get close to it before you realize what it is. Very worth the look. Again the Memorial stands alone but does have 2 USA Flags (but no POW/MIA flag — first one I’ve seen like that). The Memorial is two large angled slabs behind each other on a raised pedestal with just a simple inscription — but to the point. “For Those Who Served, For Those Who Died, Lest We Forget”. Behind the Memorial is the area’s church — obviously old and couldn’t be more appropriate.

NEVER FORGET

06/28/14

This part of the ride today was all freeway. Quicker but with plenty to look at as it runs thru both hills and flatland far from NYC.

This is one of THE Memorials all should see. Spread over a large grass area with lots of bushes and trees. At last 7 different tributes or salutes to Vietnam Vets to include our POW/MIA s well as our troops that have come home but are still suffering from both physical and mental issues. These monuments are hands down the most diverse. In addition, there is one bollard for each of this area’s fallen. Although I can normally hold my own, this Memorial managed to get to me emotionally. You walk past the bollards with the names of the fallen — one each. There is a “garden” of salutes/reverence for the Vietnam Vets — all of us. A large block of granite wall with a soldier walking into the wall, benches donated by a few dozen people, lists of the Medal of Honor Recipients (from NY) — many of the names I recognize, stats on the cost of this war both in lives and money, and whats left after the war. Every where you look — a tribute or a look into the soul of the Vietnam warriors. Around the path is a history lesson — a complete timeline of the world at that time. There is enough respect, love and caring at this one location to heal thousands of my brothers and sisters. I will finish this ride no matter what it takes, no matter how long.

I would have missed this Memorial if it wasn’t for the Marine Corps League who was made aware of this mission, contacted me, picked me up at the hotel they arranged for, and took me there — thank you Tom Tomasso.

Every Memorial I’ve been to — so far — has its own uniqueness — every one is built for the Vietnam Vet. My brothers and sisters, their families and the current generation of our warriors, need to know that they are not, nor ever will be, forgotten.

NEVER FORGET

06/29/14 (rewritten 6/30/14)

I decided to rewrite some of the below as I was half asleep when I wrote it the first time. Apologies to all.

Ride started out beautiful. Cool, no traffic, beautiful scenery. And then —- the sky turned black — and it poured. Stopped, put the all weather bag over my pack, got the rain suit top out and on. Got the rain suit pants out and on, drove for 10 minutes and it stopped. The rest of the ride was a few drops every now and then, but ok.

Got into Pittsburg (to Joe’s house)and then he and Tom took me to the Pittsburg Vietnam Memorial. Its located at the 3 Rivers area over looking the rivers. Another beautiful Memorial in a great location. To get to the Memorial Joe took us down to ride the walkway along the river. I’m faily sure this is only for “authorized vehicels” so was quite impressed. As you approach the Memorial you can see that you’re coming into a brand new design — Hibiscius Flower Pod — asiatic symbol for rebirth and symbolizing the Warriors return to Peace. This I find extremely important as so many of our warriors are in need of this rebirth. It could not be more appropriate!

The uniqueness of this Memorial — this a Welcome Home display. One couple walking towards each other and a second family reunion — wife, husband, daughter — it tells a story all by itself. Rather than mourning thee dead its much more upbeat and actually shows what we rarely saw but we really needed. The sculpture caught the joy on the daughters face as well as the longing and love on the two adults. There is a plaque called “Welcome Home” with a very true and heartfelt statement. All should read, all should heed. And its never too late to say Welcome Home to any of our veterans. Our Warriors came back to a climate of mistrust, misunderstanding with the bulk of the population trying to forget what they never understood, or were to ashmed to admit to. Our warriors did nothing to warrant this treatment — our previous warriors should have fought more to change the misconception. BUT, at last, everyone is becoming aware of the ongoing sacrifices of our veterans. NEVER FORGET again.

From what I understand — this was a long process and brought to a conclusion, at least in part, due to the Marine Corps League. Obviously the League has been doing a great job everywhere they are.

I had dinner with Joe and members of this Chapter. It was a great evening and while we were eating, it poured! But when I got outside my bike was dry!! All is good at the end of an evening like this. But tomorrow is a new day — with the looks of more rain!!

To Joe, his Chapter, all those at the dinner — I can not say thank you enough for your support of me and my mission, and more importantly, the support of our veterans.

I will NEVER FORGET.

06/30/14

It had to happen — the Charleston, WV Memorial was closed for renovation. All I could see was the shell of it but one of the contractors working on it took my IPad and took a few pictures. I’ve tweeted a couple of those to the front page.

It will reopen and be rededicated on Nov 11, 2014.

Sorry — nothing I can comment on.

NEVER FORGT