Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 17

It was cold and wet when I got up. Dew had gathered all over the tent and outside the grass was soaked. But we had to get up and go.

At the meeting Dad got me set up with the computer and I tried to get an internet connection so I could post all my blogs. I missed the meeting and was not able to get on the internet, but Dad kindly got me some breakfast while I was at work.

Then we took off. Everything was very green--grass, trees and bushes everywhere. Unfortunately Chaplain Dean was still having allergic reactions, but he was doing a little better and could ride with the rest of the bikers.

We passed through Louisville, one of the largest and most dangerous cities between us and Washington DC. We had no crashes and we made it through fine.
It was not a long ride to the Veterans Administration Medical Center, where of course there was a ceremony and plaques to give out. We skipped most of it so that Dean, Dad and I could pass out shirts to veterans. Some of them had fought in World War II! We talked to one vet who had air-raided multiple times in Germany.
We left and, ten miles and one state line later, we stopped again at the Kentucky Vietnam Veteran's memorial. It is a giant sundial. Surrounding it is cement with the names of Vietnam Vets from Kentucky. The shadow of the sundial rests on the name of a vet who had died at that time of day. There was a ceremony, but this one I will not forget. The man heading it asked me before it started if I would like to help with saying the Pledge of Allegiance on the stage. I thought he was joking, so I just said no. But when Dad said that he wanted me to do it, I figured out that this was no joke.
So I got up to the microphone and repeated the phrases I knew so well. Looking back, I think I did okay.
Dad opened up in prayer and some people came and spoke. One talked about his son whose name was in the cement in the memorial. It did not belong there because he was still alive. He talked about the needs of making another search to recover and identify those who we did not know about or who had been misplaced in Vietnam.
We left once it closed. We rode for over forty miles before stopping again. We got lunch at a fast-food place because no lunch was provided by the Run. Then we fueled up and set off again.

It was a long leg in the heat of the day. It was also getting late, so we were tired as well. But we made it off of I-64 East and stopped at a water park in Wentzville, West Virginia, after being paraded by people again.

We had a nice dinner, set up the tent, took showers and got to bed.

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