Most Crossroads area residents born before the 1970s remember something about the Vietnam War.
Some of them fought. Others nursed the wounded â€” and there were a lot of wounded.
Some lost fathers, sons or brothers. For some, whose friends or family members went Missing in Action or became Prisoners of War, there has been no resolution. Some, who returned home only to be shunned by their fellow countrymen, were left with an emptiness too vast to fill.
Others rallied against the misnamed â€śconflict,â€ť sometimes letting the anger they felt for their government fall on the shoulders of those who were simply serving their country. It was, truly, a life-changing and nation-changing event.
Each year since 1989, a group of former service men and women and their families have paused to recognize those veterans and what they endured. Once again, Run for the Wall is coming to Big Spring.
Run for the Wall is a thousands-strong group of motorcyclists who make a â€śrunâ€ť from California to the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C. A group taking the Southern Route of the trip will stop at Big Springâ€™s Vietnam Memorial between 9:45 a.m. and 10:25 a.m. Saturday. The public is invited to a brief wreath-laying ceremony before the riders move on.
Kay â€śToo Smallâ€ť McDowell, public information coordinator for the event in this area, said there are are several reasons for the bike run.
â€śItâ€™s important to promote healing among all veterans, their families and friends,â€ť she said. â€śWe also ride to call for an accounting for all of those who are POW or MIA as well to the memory of those who were killed. Finally, it is not just a Vietnam thing. We do it to support our military personnel all over the world.â€ť
Run For The Wall was started in 1989 by a couple of Vietnam veterans who traveled across America on motorcycles, talking to local radio, television, and newspapers about men and women still unaccounted for from war â€” all wars.
There is a small fee for those who participate in Run For The Wall, and they must pay their own expenses. Along the way, communities, businesses and private donations help provide some meals and lodging.
In addition to culminating at the wall, the run includes a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, the annual participantsâ€™ photo at the Lincoln Memorial, and the walk together to the Vietnam Veteransâ€™ Memorial
During their 10-day journey, riders visit VA medical centers, veteransâ€™ memorials, veteransâ€™ outreach facilities, VFW posts, American Legion posts, and community centers and schools along the way. Some communities provide parades, escorts and welcome-home receptions.
Participants range in age from 8 to 80 and include mothers, fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers. Everyone is welcome.
For more information on Run for the Wall, contact McDowell at 432-413-7678.