TOPEKA (KSNT) – The 34th annual Run For The Wall motorcycle ride came through Topeka Monday morning on their way to Washington D.C. for a Memorial Day tribute to military veterans. There are over 1,199 motorcycles and supporting vehicles on this year’s ride.
“The Run For The Wall ride is a group of military people and supporters of military vets that ride for those who can’t. Some of the riders will have pictures on their bikes to take to the wall in D.C. and lay at the wall in memory of that individual.” Eldon Jackson of Topeka, RFTW rider and supporter.
This year’s ride started in Ontario, California on May 17th, traveled through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington D.C., making overnight stops at rest areas, schools, and churches. Area Veterans of Foreign Wars and other veteran organizations donated most of the fuel used by the riders.
The first $500 of fuel at the East Topeka rest area was donated by the Kansas Turnpike Authority, the rest was donated by state motorcycle organization ABATE of Kansas.
The Run For The Wall ride started in 1989. On Friday, May 26th, 1989, Run For The Wall ride arrived in Washington, D.C. accomplishing their first trip across the U.S. The next day the Run For the Wall riders laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The ride has since been ongoing and now culminates at the Vietnam War Memorial (Wall) for a Memorial Day Ceremony.
“Run for the Wall exists to promote healing among ALL veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA), to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world,” according to the RFT website. “There is a large population of Vietnam Veterans, our ‘old warriors,’ who participate every year to receive the welcome home, respect and healing that this annual journey provides. Taking a cue from the Native American culture these ‘old warriors’ look to reach out and help the ‘young warriors’ as they return from their service to our great country.”
The ride is divided into four routes that converge in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day. Riders join the ride throughout the week. As of Monday, May 22, the number of riders on all four routes includes:
462 – Central Route
286 – Midway Route
379 – Southern Route
304 – Sandbox Route
1,199 Total to date