It was obvious that Memorial Day is almost here as hundreds of motorcycles roared through Botetourt County. Run for the Wall made it’s annual southern pilgrimage through the area. Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office provided a color guard to honor the Veterans and their kin and friends who rumbled through Exit 150 and on to Cloverdale Road to US 460 east, on May 27 right before noon.
Tommy Watts, an Army vet and a resident of Daleville and his wife Margie, along with Eagle Rock residents veteran J. L and Audine Dillon, arrived with the Watts’s daughter and grand children– Leslie Bradley, Hannah and Michael Bradley, whose husband and father Mike was one of the State Troopers leading the way for the 400 plus motorcycle riders. Watts said they had been coming to the spot at Rainbow Ridge subdivision for four years to wave and honor those making the trip. Jerry Snyder, Jimmy and Anita Wyrick and daughter-in-law Kim Wyrick and grandson Austin also of Botetourt County came about the time the Sheriff’s Department Color Guard arrived.
The Color Guard comprised of officers H.L. Wilkerson, D. Goodman, C.L. Noakes and H.L. Krizberger, stood by the police cruiser in rapt attention as hundreds of bikers most of whom are veterans, saluted, waved and beeped past the assembly. A few even took pictures from their motorcycles.
Run for the Wall began in 1989 as an effort to promote healing and unity with not only Viet Nam vets like the two who started the run, James Gregory and Bill Evans, but for all veterans to memorialize the missing (POW-MIA) and the dead (KIA0 from all wars. The Run for the Wall gives all Veterans an opportunity “for their welcome home,” said the website. So they also honor the nation’s armed forces.
The run started May 19 in Cucamonga, CA and two routes across the south and north separated the riders into two groups. Today’s group came from Wytheville to Montvale Elementary School and the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford and will return this evening to a dinner at the Salem’s Veterans Hospital. Tomorrow they will resume the ride to Arlington, Virginia, where they will rejoin with the northern route group then on to Washington DC and meet at the Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial as part of the Memorial Day activities in our nation’s capital.