JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Hundreds of motorcyclists from across the U.S, Canada and Australia made their way through Northeast Kansas Monday, en route to our nation's capital for the Memorial Day weekend.
Close to 550 riders left Junction City at 8:30 AM Monday after spending the night there and hit Interstate 70 headed East.
They started out in California last week and are making their way across the nation to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The journey is called “Run for the Wall.” The riders’ mission is to honor veterans, soldiers killed in action and military personnel all over the world.
WIBW caught up with them in Junction City as they prepared for their sixth day on the road.
"The first part of our mission is that this is a run of healing for veterans, for veterans’ families and friends. We try to provide a safe, comfortable environment so that people are able to deal with their losses, so that people are able to deal with their emotional feelings and some issues that have come up from Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. We also ride to provide awareness for people of the current prisoner of war and the current missing in action troops. We have many thousands that are missing in action from all of the wars and we currently have one prisoner of war and we’re doing everything we can to get that man out," explained David "Trunks" Gladwill, the Central Route Coordinator.
"I do this run because it started me back to being a better person. I’m a Vietnam veteran. I served in the Marine Corps and to say that I came home with issues would be minimizing it. This run has helped me regain a lot of things that I lost. I do what I do now because I have a passion for the run, I have a passion for our riders and if I can help somebody, then I’ve had a good day," Gladwill told 13 News.
"I’m the coordinator of the Central Route but we also have a Southern Route that goes through the southern states. We have two routes and one mission- take care of our brothers, bring awareness of POWs and MIAs and provide a safe and healing place for our riders. We go from California to Washington, D.C. in 10 days. We have a number of days that are close to 400 miles on the road and we have some days that are not but it’s every single day on the motorcycle, up early and late at night under difficult conditions. This is not a fun ride. We don’t do it for fun. We do it for fulfillment and to help our brothers," Gladwill added.
After the cross-country trip, the riders will make it to Washington, D.C. Friday where they’ll take part in a number of ceremonies, including a wreath laying at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.