They’re arriving in the nation’s capital Friday afternoon, but on Tuesday, midway through their seventh day in the saddle, some 500 Run For The Wall motorcyclists took a break in Gibson County.
Locals were on hand to greet them, providing encouragement and snacks at the Flying J travel center near Haubstadt. Dewig Meats owners Tom and Janet Dewig worked with volunteers to serve up hundreds of locally-made hotdogs.
“We won’t run out,” Janet Dewig promised. Each year of The Run For The Wall, the local business is stationed at the truckstop, waiting with food.
They’re joined every year by volunteers from The Assembly church in Evansville, pastored by Gibson County native Jeff Keenan, plus volunteers with Honor Bound Motorcyle Ministries and The Christian Motorcyclists Association, who offered encouragement, cold Gatorade and water, and packaged snacks.
This 32nd Run For The Wall left Ontario, California, Mary 18, after a two-year gap due to COVID-19.
Motorcyclists, riding in formation east on Interstate 64, started Tuesday morning in Wentzville, Missouri, and stopped briefly in Mount Vernon, Illinois before taking another pit-stop at Flying J.
Indiana State Police cordoned off lanes of U.S. 41 to allow them to make their exit from the interstate without incident, and riders parked two abreast on both sides of the gas pumps to refuel hundreds of bikes in record time.
The group rode east Tuesday afternoon to spend the night in Corydon before embarking on the eighth day of their ride Wednesday morning.
Along the route, riders are hosted for meals or overnight accommodations by communities, churches and veterans organizations, often greeted by banners along interstate overpasses.
Riders come from all walks of life and all parts of the country to join in Run For The Wall’s mission of promoting healing of veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action, to honor the memory of those Killed in Action from all wars and to show support of military personnel.
The goal is to provide an atmosphere for for participants to reflect and heal on their journey to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. While in the nation’s capital, members take part in flower ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery and also gather at the Lincoln Memorial for a group photo before presenting a “Mission Accomplished” plaque at The Vietnam Memorial Wall.
Some members also take part in Sunday’s Rolling to Remember ride through the city.