Run For The Wall 2009 Mission Complete

Walking to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall yesterday, watching men with gray hair, leather vests adorned with pins and patches, following our "leaders," the two Route Coordinators whose planning and leadership staff kept us safe, all across the nation, I processed a lot of painful thoughts.

One tough memory was realizing that 40 years ago this month, I had my 21st birthday, and the next month our 2nd wedding anniversary, while my husband was overseas. I had very little money, our first son was born just after he left, and I was hurt, disappointed and resentful of the American government and the war protests showering the media. Floods of memories came back as I held our little video camera above the crowd yesterday to capture the laying of the "Mission Accomplished Plaque" at the apex of the wall.

More than 58,000 names are on that wall - many of the motorcycle riders who took this journey with us were finding names and doing rubbings to treasure this moment, and reflect on the past. So many tears, so many people, the general public outnumbered our masses probably at least 800 of us coming down the Lincoln Memorial stairs from a photo shoot, to the wall behind our leaders.

The crowd atmosphere changed before we reached the center, we entered quietly, walking to the outside of the brick walkway - the crowd seemed to be going the opposite direction glancing at the slab wall, and moving onward to other memorials, but there was a certain pause, when two bikers purposefully stepped through the crowd, observers aimed their cameras, and the instant of time was captured. We are at the wall, we've completed the mission, months of planning years of personal training and preparation, a generation of questioning the Vietnam war, the separations, the hurts, the squelched dreams, floods of emotions at the wall, and yet today... looking forward already to 2010 Run For The Wall.

I'm so honored to do the Run For The Wall this my 7th year. We've met people who will be friends for a lifetime, we've established a legacy, seen changed lives, watched people pick up the burden for veterans, hugged, cried and rode across country together, stood in lines for meals, stood in line for bathrooms, sat on our overheated bikes lined up for fuel, and stood in the hot sun on blacktop parking lots waiting for traffic or accidents to clear. We've tolerated each other when we're grumpy and laughed at nonsense along the way. I so love the Run For The Wall participants, and leadership. God has given us new family members and we truly want to stay in touch with them.


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You can buy this poster.