Two last days have been full of rushing to get into DC, riding safe, trying to stay awake, last minute preparations to say goodbye to our family, new members as well as old members.
During the ride in itself, I rode part of the way without the RFTW. It gives me time to think of all those we ride for — those that can not ride, as they are now deceased, or their MIA/POW, or their not quite home but are riding into DC tonight.
I’m not really alone when I ride on RFTW or on any of my Memorial rides. I remember the guys that did not come home as well as the ones that did that I’ve never seen again. I know OF the hundreds that came home to either be vilified or ignored — men that sacrificed a part of their soul if not a part of their bodies. My backseat rider is always there to remind me of these men.
The RFTW provides a way for our heroes to come home. The trips to the Memorials, especially the Vietnam Wall, are part of a long overdue healing. A thank you that many have never received and deserve so badly. The participants in RFTW are putting it in the kine for all of them.
We can not forget our veterans. My focus is the Vietnam War — my war. My focus is the over 58,000 names on The Wall, and their families as well as those that are living out their lives not understanding that their sacrifices are appreciated — finally.
The welcome into DC was pretty darn nice with a Marine Color Guard and Marine BGen (select) Williams on hand to welcome in the riders. All 3 routes come together for the first time since we left Rancho. Good stories flow, hugs are exchanged, and we make plans for the rest of the weekend. Many will participate in candle light vigils, salutes at The Wall, hugs from their fellow vets, and from strangers. Many will head home almost right away. Many have made their final run but some will return next year. All have benefited from the ride. So many memories from the past and a heck of a lot of new ones! New family members.
351 days until RFTW 2015.
The Mission Rules