Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Last leg of Run for the Wall 27 done. Another year in the books

This year I rode for my Dad.  He was my Step Father,  but he was my Dad.  Donald E. Smith passed away peacefully on September 19th of 2014.  He made three Runs with my Brother, my Wife and I.  He did some of all three on a motorcycle, and he participated in two Rolling Thunder Parades.
My Dad and my Brother encouraged me to participate in my first Run for the Wall in 2005.  That was also his first Run.  He loved his Run Family, and used to have my wife print out the news letters and send them to him.   He was not into computers, but he enjoyed reading about the Run.
We talked about those days several times over the years.  Sometimes I would bring it up on a phone call, sometimes he would.  He would ask how Bones, or Cheetos or Krazy was doing.  He made me call him every day when I was on the Run. 
This year I rode in his memory.  I had his Run hat with me on every leg.  I took his hat with me on my truck from September until April when I left for the Run.   I carried his picture from his first Run with me all the way across the country.  I left his Korean Veteran hat at the wall. 
He was a great Dad, and a proud patriot and veteran. 
I am in Dallas now, and I wish I had my Dad to call because I am not on the road yet. 
He would have liked Leroy Petry, and I wish that I had taken him by OOIDA when he was alive, he would have liked that place.  In truth I rode for him 5 or 6 times, because he couldn't make the trip after 2008, he said he was too old, but he always asked me to call him everyday.  He liked the food at all the stops, but he always had me eat an extra sausage at breakfast at Wentzville, MO.  He used to say those pigs were still squealing when we left L.A., and they probably were.   All the food ona the Run is great, as are the snacks, and the unexpected free gas.  

We are a big family that is the Run is a big family.  There are probably 3 to 4 thousand folks that have done the Run, and follow it every year.  We do not all get to go every year, but when we can't make it we still follow the riders, their blogs, the news reports, the face book and you tube postings.   I am glad I could make this year for my Dad , and my Brother, Shoreparty made it all the way again this year too.   He had to swich to his car after Colorado, but he still participated and fullfilled a vital part of the mission.

Everyone that participates in Run for the wall, from the Veterans that show up just to salute us out of parking lots in the morning, to the thousands of folks who stand out in rain, sleet, hail, high winds, or just down right  beuatiful weather to wave, or salute us, to the people that collect funds all year to pay for gas, or buy the food that is prepared for us, and  freely given to riders are vital to the Mission of Run for the wall.

It doesn't matter if you go one leg, or all ten days.  It doesn't matter if you only stand on an overpass, or simply post a comment on the RFTW forum.  Everyone is part of the family.  There are some riders that have done a volunteer position every year, there are other that just come out to L.A. to support us there.  There are some like my friend Krazy Karl, who emails me and calls me to remind me how important what we do is.

There is he Shadow, who is intragal to the Run.  All of these people are important because they believe like I do in the mission.  That mission has been added to but it is still the same.  We ride for those who can't.

This year I rode for my Dad, and my Brother, but I also rode for myself.  I was the lead of the communications team, and I trained two wonderful folks to keep this vital service going.

I am not saying I can't do the Run in 2016.  I want to.  My friend Curtis Hubbel once told me "Don't you quit this run, you need it as much as we need you."   I won't quit it.  But this year I have been off work almost 3 full months, and I see no way I can go all the way in 2016.   I will try to participate in some way, but I do not think it will be all the way.  Even if I just make phone calls to Reed Black at Land Line now, I will be supporting the mission.

We the riders of Run for the Wall have to keep going, until everyone comes home.  I told a truck driver on the CB radio a few years ago (I have restated this probably 200 times in the last 5 years) If having these bikes out here on the highway bothers you, if you want us to stop what we are doing you can get that done.  Simply inform you Senators or Congressmen that they have got to do their job and bring the missing and those that have not come home from all wars (Some think this run is about Vietnam, it is, but it isn't)  17,000 or more missing since WWI.   We are getting the remains back from Vietnam, and Korea, and Japan and Germany every day.  If you know some one who has a loved one who went to war, and was never returned tell them to get online.  JPAC has hundreds of remains that they want to identify, but DNA testing is relatively new.  

OK sorry this one went long.

Everyone ride safe, and remember even if you can't participate, you can support the Run in several ways.