Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 20: The Wall

I slowly woke up, happy to be in a warm hotel rather than a tent. I had nothing to take down, no morning meeting deadline, no long motorcycle rides. In some ways I was glad we had finished the Run.

But we had one or two last things to do. After getting ready for the day we got on the bike and left for the Vietnam Memorial--the long black wall that I so looked forward to visiting each year.

The day was perfect for riding. The temperature was great, the sky was clear and we were on our way to DC. We crossed the historical bridge that took us into DC right behind the Lincoln Memorial. I saw statues along the road. This was no ordinary bridge.

We parked on the grass across the street from the Lincoln Memorial. Then we headed for the Vietnam Wall, where we would finally finish the "mission" of Run For The Wall.

It was longer and taller than I remembered from last time. As we walked along the black wall I saw all the tens of thousands of names. All those people died for my freedom, I reflected. It was humbling to see all those names.

Even at such a memorable place I could not hardly stand the heat--black walkways, the huge black wall and the crowding people increased the heat and I felt like I was baking. But those men on the Wall had suffered so much more than heat, I reminded myself. I could stand it, if I thought of it that way.

Dad ripped both arm bands off my arm and lay them at the wall. Finally I had something to drop off at the wall, unlike the year before.
We quickly got some lunch at a nearby gift shop. It was very expensive, being located near all the memorials.

We then went to the Lincoln Memorial, where we got pictures with the rest of the Run members on the numerous steps. Then we actually went inside the memorial, which we had failed to do the year before in our excitement to get to the Wall.

The statue of Lincoln was larger than I had thought. We gazed up at it for some time before moving on.

We met with Chaplain Dean and once again visited the Wall, this time with him. He had left earlier to visit the Arlington Cemetery.

We looked at the men's and the women's memorial statues near the Wall. Then we walked among the trees on a path, cooling down. After that we went back to the hotel, where I got a nap before dinner.

We went outside after a couple of hours and were picked up. So many people got in the small bus that the back end was weighed down and rubbed against the tires. By the time we reached the church one of the tires had blown!

We had a great dinner of ribs. Then we went to the last Run For The Wall ceremony, held in the church parking lot. And no ceremony is complete without plaques...

Then we went back to the hotel for the night, ready to get to bed.

1 comment:

  1. spidey,great thoughts, better pictures. Keep up the good work. Let you Dad know I made it home safe, and was dry until I put the bike on the trailer for the final leg. Enjoy the rest of your trip and be careful.
    Dave Talley