By Zachary Hubbell
The roar of the engine pounds in your ears and the ground flies by faster than you can see as you blast down the road at 60 miles an hour. On the motorcycle, the world changes and is set out before you so that you can go anywhere in it. You feel free.
That's how I felt May 2008. I had been on Run For The Wall, a motorcycle trip that starts in Los Angeles, CA, and ends in Washington, DC. It is a 6,000 mile ride and, besides the time it takes to get to the Run and back home, takes ten days. Hundreds of people join this tough but fulfilling ride every year.
Last year my father challenged me to go on this amazing trip. If I could make it all the way without complaining or making him stop, he thought that was enough to call me a young man. I agreed.
More quickly than I thought it could happen, we went through the dry, desert-like roads of Arizona and back through Colorado, where we changed motorcycles because the first one broke down. We then sped along through the Great Plains into the Midwest, through Kentucky (the chicken tasted about the same) and many other historical states like West Virginia, and soon we were in DC.
The morning before we arrived in DC, my Dad took me up in front of all the bikers and explained why I had come. He presented me with a vest which had the Run For the Wall colors (a large back patch) on it already and as I put it on I noticed that it was several sizes too large for me. He later explained that that vest would fit better as I grew more into a man.
Now looking back my Dad comments, “If you ever want to make Marines cry, try honoring your son in front of them.” And as I remember all the emotional responses I got that day from what my Dad did, I must agree.
All the memorials, all the roads, and all the memories made it the greatest trip of my life. And now, one year later, I am ready to do it again. But this time, I will be a man all the way.