Hundreds of motorcycles ride into Junction City for ‘Run for the Wall’
JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) - Over 250 motorcyclists drove in to Junction City to honor war veterans, POWs and MIAs as part of the Run for the Wall ride that spans the entire country, from Ontario, California and ends in Washington D.C.
Riders with the organization drove nearly 400 miles on Sunday to arrive in Junction City. They said the cross country parade serves as the welcome home that many veterans never received.
“It began in 1989 and it was about bringing attention to the all POWs and MIAs, prisoners’ of war and missing in action in Vietnam. But we have the same issue continuing in other conflicts, so we invite other members of the service into this organization to bring awareness to MIAs and POWs,” said Paul Marshall, central route coordinator for Run for the Wall.
Members of the Junction City community lined the streets to welcome the riders into their town.
“We go to communities all across the country, we visit memorials there. We enjoy the support of hundreds, if not thousands of supporters, citizens, service organizations, you name it. We have all kinds of people helping us all across the country,” said Marshall.
Bonnie Templeton is an Army veteran who has attended and been a part of the event in past years. Yet it still makes her emotional when she sees such a large display of support for the country’s veterans.
“I always cry, no matter how times I watch this. I always cry as they’re coming in. It’s just very emotional. I’ve been doing some research on the Kansans from the Vietnam War that are still missing in action, and we’ve got 24 that are still missing who’s bodies have not been recovered,” Templeton said.
She said the cross-country trip is cathartic for many veterans.
“I’ve hosted, I’ve been the emcee several times, and hearing some of their stories about the closure that it brings them. Meeting up with people who have had the same experiences and everything is very, very important to them.”
According to the Run for the Wall website, there are still over 1,500 American POWs and MIAs still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War alone.
The bikers will be back on the road first thing Monday morning and they plan to arrive in the nation’s capital on May 26, where the trip will come to an end at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
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