Monday, May 21, 2012

They ride for those who can’t

Run For The Wall
riders roar past OOIDA.
They ride to raise awareness. They ride to heal. And most importantly, they ride for those who can’t.

One of the most moving days of the year for us at OOIDA happens in May. As Memorial Day approaches, we await the day – a Monday in this case – that hundreds of motorcycles will roll past as they make their annual Run For The Wall to Washington, DC.

And although we are familiar with how the day will go and what to expect as we line the hillside to greet them, seeing the riders and hearing the roar of the motorcycles still has the power to overwhelm.

No matter how prepared we are, and no matter how many years we’ve seen those stoic riders glide past on their way to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, we get caught up in the moment and feelings of pride for this country and those who serve it.

With each rider that passes, with each wave, and with each honk of a horn, we connect. We feel. For those brief, powerful moments, we are with them.

Bright, sunny day or not, the sunglasses come in handy when Run For The Wall roars past.

There’s always at least 400 riders at this stage of the Central Route. By the time they pick up their full contingency, and meet up with the Southern Route, they will be thousands strong. And by the time their wheels turn for Rolling Thunder next Monday, there will be hundreds of thousands.

Many truckers, OOIDA members and staff have military backgrounds. And we are proud to know people who participate in Run For The Wall.
OOIDA staffer Rena Meyer and her husband Dave
prepare for their first Run For The Wall experience.
They’ll end up in DC on Memorial Day.

OOIDA medical benefits administrative assistant Rena Meyer and her husband, Dave, are on the journey for the first time. Last Friday, they loaded up their rides to join up with Run For The Wall at an official stop in Kansas. Dave is 20-year Army. He told us they are riding for all fallen heroes.

For the participants, the missions are personal. They know why they ride.

And even if we’re not riding, even if we’re the ones waving from the hillside, we will do our part to help carry the torch.

(Photos by Nikohle Ellis)