D.C. Riders Come Through Longview - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/21/06-Longview

D.C. Riders Come Through Longview

 More than 600 "iron horses" rumbled through Longview today, on a cross-country mission from California to Washington D-C. It was the 17th annual Run for the Wall. The group is headed to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in the nation's capital for Memorial Day.   The more than 600 are on their annual mission to make a coast to coast ride, ending at the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Washington D.C.

 "It's real emotional for them to make the trip and it's real emotional for us to help them," said Longview American Legion Post commander Jerry Westphalen.

 This is the ninth year in a row the riders came through Longview. Many ride for obvious reasons, like recognition of how Vietnam vets fought as hard and courageous as an in our history. And how all MIA's should be brought home.

 "We were held accountable for what happened in Vietnam lets hold the government accountable for getting the rest of our people back, whether their still alive or not . Let's bring everyone home," said Idaho rider Tom Titus.  

 Titus has dedicated the last two rides to his son, lost in war.

 "My son Brandon Titus was stationed with 10th mountain division in Iraq, and he was killed august 2004 by an IED," he says.

 It's a trip that has become more than just a motorcycle ride. Many are remembering an elderly woman they met on the trip.

 "She was shabbily dressed there's no doubt she didn't have a lot of money but she went up to the commander and said I have four dollars and 11 cents in my pocket I want to give that to your boys for fuel.  That's how it is," said Arizona rider Rick Avolio.

 For many it's a healing process, looking to make peace with the ghosts of the past. Organizers expect that as any as 500,000 riders will get together on Washington D.C. by Memorial Day weekend.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

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