The National League of POW/MIA Families has the opportunity again this year to have our missing loved ones honored by this year’s Run For The Wall (RFTW) leading to Rolling Thunder events in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day weekend. For the past two years, the riders of RFTW have displayed photos of our missing loved ones on their motorcycles as they traveled cross-country to our nation’s capital. How incredible would it be for one of these men/women to have your missing loved one’s photo displayed on the front of their motorcycle each of the 2700 miles it takes to cross our great land from California to our nation’s capital?
Run For The Wall is a group of riders, including MANY Veterans, whose goals are to ride across America from California to Washington D.C. to participate in Rolling Thunder and show the demand for HIGH government priority on accounting for America’s unreturned veterans – our POW/MIAs. For more information on Run For the Wall, visit the following websites:
Home page: www.rftw.org/index.asp?lg=1&w=pages&r=-1&pid=0
Mission statement: www.rftw.org/index.asp?lg=1&w=pages&r=1&pid=3
In 2009, we had 40 photos that were carried across the country and ceremoniously placed at The Wall on Memorial Day weekend. Last year, we doubled that number with 80 photos carried. Thank you to those of you who participated. We’ve got 110 already for this year, but I’d like more! We want pictures of ALL MIAs, not just those still missing but also those whose remains have been returned home. Not only does this honor our loved ones, but it means a great deal to the riders. One Veteran, with whom I rode from LA to Phoenix in 2009, explained that he had never been to The Wall and that he hadn’t been sure he would be able to approach the memorial. He said that carrying that photo gave him the strength to do it, and thanked us for that.
If in years past you have participated and EMAILED me a photo of your missing loved one, I still have it and will use it this year. You do not need to do anything else! If you have NOT provided me an electronic photo (via email), read below for information on how to participate.
Here’s what you need to do:
1) Send an email to [email protected] indicating you want to participate. I need to get a estimated count of participants for planning and to weigh our media options.
2) Email a photo to [email protected] of your missing family member or friend by MAY 4, 2011.
NOTE: The photo does not have to be the official military photo. Last year, there were a few of us that used pictures of our loved one in uniform, but with family (i.e. I used a photo of Dad in his flight jacket holding me, and Trish Burnett used a photo of her father with their family). It’s really up to you!
3) Write a short bio about your missing loved one including the date of loss, the country, the branch of service and any details about the case you would like to include. We would also like you to mention those of you in your family who are still waiting for answers. Again, keep this somewhat short as we want this displayed on the motorcycle as well. Please email the bio with the photo to [email protected].
4) If you know the panel at The Wall where your missing loved one’s name is inscribed, make a note of that for me. The Veteran carrying your photo will leave it in front of the appropriate panel.
We have some of our own riding as well. We’ll be riding going with the Southern Route. This year, Trish Burnett, MIA daughter, will make her second RFTW starting in LA and “go all the way!” to DC. I’ll join them in Odessa, TX (mine and my father’s home town) and ride to D.C. from there. Pam Cain, MIA daughter, will be joining us in Meridian, MS to ride the rest of the way. The riders are very happy to have family members with them. If any of you are interested in doing the same, please let me know.
If you don’t want to ride, but would like to come visit us when we stop near you, we would love to see you. Trish, Pam and I will be riding the Southern Route and our itinerary of stops can be found here:
If the Southern Route is too – well, South! – check out the Central Route itinerary to see if they are stopping near you.
There is also a Northern Route, called National Veterans Awareness Ride, that starts in Auburn, CA and ends in DC. You can get information on their schedule/stops here:
The riders would love to meet you. I’m happy to give them a “heads up” of your visit if you would like or just show up and introduce yourself!
Thanks all, and we hope you will all plan to participate in this worthwhile effort to raise awareness while honoring our missing.
Run For The Wall will start the journey on May 18, 2011. Please keep these riders in your prayers for a safe journey to Washington, D.C. They are riding in honor and remembrance of our loved ones.
MIA Daughter of Capt Ron Forrester, USMC
Board of Directors/TX State Coordinator