Thursday, May 29, 2014

Today I get on a plane back to Dallas and work

My wonderful vacation is over.  I met thousands of very nice folks this year.  I also saw some wonderful things.   Lots of monuments, and an excellent representation of our future.   Every parade we did had children holding flags, and waving signs at us. This was great.   The people that we see are never on the news, they are too patriotic for that.  The news is not interested in the good side of America, only the bad.  This saddens me.  When we rode into the Capitol at West Virginia there were thousands there to greet us.  The Governor proclaimed it Run For The Wall Day in West Virginia.   Our purpose is to demand an accounting of all those left behind, and to promote healing among veterans of all wars.  This year I did a lot of healing.  The leadership of the Run this year was great, and not just because I was a part of it.
This is part of a statue in the Westphall Museum in Angel Fire New Mexico.  By riding across country as we do we make sure that that those left behind are never forgotten.

We had lots of support from local and state police departments.  This picture was taken in Holbrook, New Mexico, just before it was time to roll to Gallup.   Riding under escort is easier, and the trucks that are caught behind us were appreciative mostly that they were only delayed a few minutes, instead of hours that they could be if a car were to hit a motorcycle.  The car drivers will often try to video us and get the next viral you tube video.  Not the safest thing in the world.  Worse is the occasional truck driver who will try to do the same thing. 
6834 miles on a motorcycle, but it is not a Party, it is not a Rally, it is a mission and like any other mission you do not have to like it you just have to do it.

Anyone who wants to know more, please comment.  I moderate them, but I do post them too.


Monday, May 26, 2014

A Poem by the Shadow

Before I post this I want to mention that the Shadow is a friend of mine, and a great man.  I love his poetry and this one will make you tear up.

------------I AM PROUD

this i wrote in the third person--an observation of what went on in hurricane ,wv on last years follows------------I AM PROUD

By The Shadow

I heard you were coming, coming to Hurricane, West Virginia on your way to the Wall. I came out and I

wandered around the park, watching as the preparations were being made. I heard a familiar noise and looked

up to see an old Huey coming in for a landing in the parking lot. I moved closer, looking and remembering. I

listened to the small talk and heard someone say,---they are at the state line and coming fast.

The Huey sprang to life and I watched as it lifted into the air. I wondered where it was going, and I heard them

say, they are going out to meet the pack and lead them in. I was surprised at this and I began to get excited

along with everyone else there. Soon we heard the chop-chop-chop of the blades and she once again landed in

the parking lot. Someone was calling out the miles, 10--5--1 mile out and when the group turned off at the exit and headed into

the park I made my way to a place where I could see them pass by.

I stood there and saluted you, each and every one of you as you passed by. I looked into your faces and saw the

miles and hours in the saddle. You looked great. And I smiled to myself and thought, I am proud, so proud.!!

That all of you would do this--ride to remember those who have served and those who have paid the ultimate price.

I was there in the dining hall as you gathered to break bread and satisfy a well-deserved hunger. I stopped at

your table and listened to the small talk—the chuckles and the tears. I walked with you as you ate ice cream

cones, with it melting and dripping on your chins and beards. And I walked with you as you headed for your

tents and campers to lay the day’s exhaustion down.

As it got dark I listened to the night sounds creeping in, and stood watch over you as you slept through the

night. And as morning drew near I listened as you stirred, waking, stretching, softly cursing the stiffness you

tried to overcome.

Someone calls out—is there coffee yet? And there is the scent of hot coffee drifting through the morning air. I

remember the taste of hot coffee in the mornings. Ahhhh—it’d be wonderful to share a cup with you. but I shall

be content to stand close by as you pack and repack your gear, for today the much-anticipated ride to Rainelle

and the children is about to start. Oh how I wish I could go with you , but I must remain here. I cannot leave.

I hear the bikes begin to rumble as platoons and lines form. Last-minute instructions go out and I see everyone’s

anticipation building. Again I move to a spot where I can watch you leave and when the signal is given, the sea of

bikes begins moving as one. Again I look into your faces and I come to attention and salute you, each and every one of you, as you pass by.

As a tear rolls off my cheek, I say thank you—thank you for remembering me! I watch you in the distance, riding out of sight, and I feel my chest swell and again I am proud … so proud of you all.

Shadow I am proud of you, you endured pain, and you slept in a tent half the size you needed from Wentzville, MO to Rainelle, WV.  You participated in the greatest mission ever, and you support that mission every day in every way.   You are a great American.  And you ride proud my friend.


Run for the Wall Central Route 2014 BOUNCE Video

This is the video I took at exit 24 outside the OOIDA offices.  Watch the time between bikes and platoons, it is impressive.  About half the riders in the group had never done this before.  The pack was riding very tight.

Mission Complete, almost home

I am 135 miles from home.  I delivered my remembrance and the flag the the staff at OOIDA signed.  I also left my POW bracelet for Bo there too.   There were a lot of those there.

Our mission is simple, we demand that the Government follow through and bring the Missing In Action, and KIA home.   We know where most of the remains from Vietnam are, we just can't afford to go there and get them.  Paying Congress is more important.  If this were a political blog, I would start ranting now, but it is not.

One Truck Driver told me over the radio that we should not be on his road.  My answer to him was simple.
I said "Driver if you do not want these motorcycles out here, disrupting your day, sit down and write your Congressman, and State Senators a letter demanding that the 132,000 left behind since WWI be returned.  When  they all come home we won't have to do this."   He responded that we were doing nothing.

Not exactly true, 26 years ago there were no POW/MIA flags, now they fly on fifty Capital Buildings, and at our Embassies around the world, and at our bases too.  The Honor and Remember Flag also flies at some State Capitals, and that is directly attributable to Run For the Wall, and Rolling Thunder.

Yes Congress leaves town before we arrive, but they watch the news reports.  They listen.  We all write them letters, and they respond.  Their responses are extremely lame, but they are hearing us.

This year I dedicated my ride to Bo, and the Marine that is being held in Mexico, and to the memory of Chuck Huskey.  I also rode for Lt Badly

Me at the Wall placing Lt Badly's memory and the Flag I received at OOIDA.  Lt Badly's name is on panel
46E, line 43/

These are shipmates of a friend.  He and I are of different generations, but we get it. Cheetos is a Vietnam Vet, and like all that generation he is great and a hero to me.  He said something that struck me as profound.  The Korean Vets, and the WWII Vets ignored what happened to the Vietnam Vets.  There is a bumper sticker and a patch that reads "Never again will one generation of Veterans turn their backs on another generation of Veterans.  That is the reason that our military today can proudly wear their Uniforms wherever they go/

This is me and Cheetos, also known as Kenneth Neufeld, He is a great guy and a good friend.  I did ask if he was wanted anywhere before posting the picture.  He said only at home by his wife.  We stopped a priest and the young man he was talking to and asked them to take the photo.  Then we hugged, and went in opposite directions.