WENTZVILLE, Mo. – Members of the Wentzville community put their support for veterans on display Monday. VFW Post 5327 welcomed hundreds of bikers traveling the central route of the annual Run for the Wall. Flags lined the streets, and supporters cheered as the bikers rolled in for the night.
Laura Ricord is from Colorado and is making the cross-country journey. She said the support she has witnessed has been breathtaking.
The run to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., is a way to honor those killed in action, call for an accounting of all prisoners of war and those missing in action, and help veterans and their families heal.
“Society, in general, seems to forget some of the sacrifices that are made by the vets when they sign that contract, and they go overseas,” said Michael Bischoff, a combat veteran showing his support. “They take the actions they take to preserve the freedoms that we have.”
Wentzville has welcomed the riders for 34 years. Those who have been part of the event from the beginning say support is growing.
“I’ve seen a lot of change in attitude for the betterment of veterans over the years, and I hope it continues,” said Ron Owens, commander of VFW Post 5327.
Paul Swanson is an Army veteran from California making the cross-country run. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and is riding to raise awareness about the PACT Act and the Open Burn Pit Registry.
Even with his diagnosis, Swanson is grateful to be a part of the run.
“I’m fortunate to be able to do this for some of the people that can’t do this,” he said.
One of the supporters lining the street Monday was Mary DeLong. Her husband was making the cross-country ride for the first time.
“He said to be a Vietnam veteran and to be treated the way we were when we came home by our government, we don’t ever want that to happen to any of our military again,” DeLong said.
The bikers will continue their journey Tuesday morning, making a stop at the Wentzville Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the first Vietnam veterans memorial in the United States.