Finally, i was able to get *some* of my thoughts down on paper about this incredible PGR mission. I am sort of cheating tho - I am basing this post on excerpts of the letter I wrote to all my adopted soldiers/veterans about this trip. (why re-invent the wheel and re-write something I already wrote? hehe) Anyway, this is just a tiny fraction of my thoughts & feeligns & experiences on this trip. The letter below references pictures that I inserted into the letter... for this post, I've put clickable links to the pictures I referenced. You can see ALL the pictures in my photobucket album, HERE. :) Without further ado, here is my feeble attempt at a recap of this incredible journey.
....You might remember I told you a while back that hubby and I were going to Washington, DC, with the Patriot Guard Riders to be present at the funeral of an American soldier (
Capt.) who went missing in Herbert C. Crosby on 10 January 1970. His remains were found and positively identified thru DNA in November of 2006, and he was finally buried at VietNam on 25 May 2007…. 37 years after he was lost. They determined that he was killed when his chopper crashed (though they are not sure if it went down due to the terrible weather conditions or due to enemy fire)… this was a relief to his surviving family, finally knowing that he was never taken as a Prisoner of War, and likely didn’t suffer much. Arlington Anyway, we left on the morning of May 22.
The journey would be broken up into two days: Day 1 would be driving to Florence, SC, and stopping for the night, and Day 2 would be driving the rest of the way to DC. J There were two cars and 15 motorcycles… a total of 22 people made this amazing journey to honor
Capt.. The group determined that we would stop every 100 miles or so to fuel up, etc (about every 2 hours, roughly). According to mapquest, it is about a 4 hour trip from our starting point to Florence, SC, where we would stop for the night. It took us about six hours with all the frequent stops, but that’s ok… we all got there safe & sound in one piece. J We stayed in SC for the night, hung out at the hotel pool for a while before going out to dinner at a yummy all-you-can-eat buffet near the hotel. Crosby
The next morning we got up bright and early (ugh!) to hit the road again. This time, we’d go straight thru to DC (according to mapquest, it was about another 6 hours from there to DC, but this time I wasn’t paying attention to how long it was taking to get there, haha!).
We arrived in Rosslyn, Virginia (where our hotel was, very near DC) sometime on 5/23, safe & sound again (whew! Driving with motorcycles is an ADVENTURE, for sure… don’t ask how many near-heart attacks we in the cars had, watching OTHER cars drive way too carelessly around our bikers!!! ACK!!! :-o ). I have to admit getting a kick out of some of the looks on the other (proper, business-suited) hotel guests’ faces when they saw a bunch of jeans-and-leather-clad folks come in to register, hehehe… really, y’all…we’re harmless, honest! J hehehehe J (I found out the day I got brave enough to join the PGR that just because some of them might LOOK really scary or intimidating…doesn’t mean they don’t have hearts of gold hidden under all that leather somewhere J .)
Anyway, we got to the hotel, and once we were all settled, we commenced with some sight-seeing. The very first stop was, of course, the VietNam Memorial Wall.
If you’ve never been there… it’s an awe-inspiring, amazing sight, and very, very deeply touching, too. I went to the Wall in 1995, very briefly. I remember being amazed by it’s sheer size and what it represents…if I remember right, over 58,000 names of fallen or POW/MIA soldiers are inscribed there. But in 1995, I didn’t actually know any soldiers at all. I didn’t actually know any VietNam veterans at all. So this time, 12 years later, I saw the Wall with new eyes… see, this time, it was much more personal. Many of my PGR friends are, themselves, VietNam Veterans. They knew those heroes, whose names are on that Wall. Being at the Wall with them… that made it hit home very, very deeply. I looked around at my friends (and thought of my VietNam veteran friends who couldn’t be there), and thought to myself, “This could have been him on that Wall… or him… or him….” Seeing the enormity of the loss of life, contrasted by being there with my friends who were there and made it home… and wondering how they were feeling, knowing that the Wall is never any easy trip for any of them… it pretty well left me speechless, in tears.
When we were finished looking at the Wall, we saw some of the other sights in the immediate area – a statue honoring Vietnam Soldiers, the Nurses’ Memorial, which I loved, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument (from a distance).