LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - The 22nd annual Run for the Wall, a ride dedicated to prisoners of war and those missing in action, came through Longview. Rumbling through, over 600 riders have made their way from the starting point in California. Some have close connections to be in the ride.
"My dad was in the Marines and was shot down two days after Christmas 1972 in Vietnam," said Austin rider, Karoni Forester.
Others have their reasons to support those who make the ride.
"Its important for me to recognize him as a survivor of the war and honor him," said supporter, Wanda Bates, who's husband served in Vietnam.
Bert Key from Oregon, a former member of the famed First Marine Division and Vietnam veteran, rides for all those who can't.
"I've read every name on that wall," Key said. "A ride like this is one way I have of keeping alive four members that I personally know."
"Being part of something this big lets us know that we're all in this together and people haven't forgotten," Forester said.
They get encouragement from East Texans who came to see them, and a little something they take with them.
"People are much more proud of being American and of our troops," Key said.
The Run for the Wall will culminate with a ride into Washington D.C. Memorial Day week, where organizers expect to have nearly half a million riders.