After a two-year hiatus, an estimated 250 veterans on motorcycles—members of the Run for the Wall brigade—will arrive at the Marathon Truck Stop at I-40 exit 369 at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, May 25 for a one-hour break on their way to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, on Memorial Weekend. The riders will be making a quick pit stop on the way to their lunchtime destination in Bristol after spending the night in Chattanooga.
This, the 28th annual ride, left May 17 from Rancho Cucamonga, CA. It culminates in the participation (formerly known as) Rolling Thunder’s “Ride for Freedom” in Washington, DC on May 28. In 2019, an estimated 1 million riders participated.
The RFTW brigade is comprised of veterans, friends, and family “united to promote healing among all veterans; to call for an accounting of all POWs and MIAs; to honor the memory of those Killed in Action from all Wars and to support US military personnel all over the world.” Americans line the route across the country with banners and flags to welcome the riders to their town. For the riders, the sight can be overwhelming, especially for the Vietnam Veterans; many of whom were not welcomed home.
Since the ride takes place along the I-40 corridor, citizens are encouraged to greet the riders from overpasses where pedestrians are allowed. People may also welcome them at exit 369 as they come in for their break. The Run will leave from Chattanooga about 8:30 a.m. Expected time of arrival in Bristol is 2:00 at the Blackwolf HD.
According to Sgt. Maj. Doug Lyvere (USMC-Ret.), “There were more people on the overpasses in East Tennessee than anywhere else (in the country) in 2019.”
Follow the route: www.rftw.org