Fallen soldiers honored as part of 30th annual Run for the Wall

May 21, 2018

Mark Schremmer

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Hundreds of motorcycle riders for the 30th annual Run for the Wall on Monday, May 21 breezed past the OOIDA headquarters along Interstate 70 in Grain Valley, Mo., as they made their way to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

However, the riders said there were thousands of fallen soldiers riding with them.

“We ride for the ones who can’t,” said Edwin Musto, a veteran of the South African Defense Force who is taking part in his third Run for the Wall. “For me, it’s a privilege and an honor.”

That message was echoed by a group of Run for the Wall representatives who stopped at OOIDA to speak about the annual event with Land Line and Land Line Now.

Jesse McCabe, a veteran who spent two years in the Army Reserves and four years in the Air Force, is riding in memory of his former Air Force Honor Guard roommate, Frank Bogucki, who died in 2015.

“I’m riding for him,” McCabe said.

A total of about 1,600 riders are taking part in the annual journey from Ontario, Calif., to Washington, D.C. The riders are divided among three routes as they aim to reach their destination by May 25 for the annual Rolling Thunder parade on Memorial Day Weekend.

The Run for the Wall was started in 1989 as an effort by Vietnam veterans James Gregory and Bill Evans, who traveled across the United States on motorcycles to talk to local radio stations, TV stations and newspapers about the thousands of men and women still unaccounted for from all U.S. wars.

As the Run for the Wall reaches its 30th year, the objective is to recognize the sacrifices and contributions made by all veterans.

OOIDA member David Talley, an Air Force veteran, is making his 12th ride for Run for the Wall. This year, he’s taking the final letter sent home by Navy SEAL Marc A. Lee with him to place on the wall. Lee was the first Navy SEAL to lose his life in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was portrayed by actor Luke Grimes in the 2014 film “American Sniper.”

“I’m taking the letter to the wall for his family,” Talley said.

Go online to learn more about Run for the Wall and track the riders’ progress.

“It’s a mission,” said Jesse Nolasco, who is making the ride for the first time along with his wife, Jamie. “It’s a mission all the way to the wall for the people who can’t get there.”

WWWilliams

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.