East Texans to show support for veterans at Run To The Wall
By Angela Ward firstname.lastname@example.org
East Texans will have an opportunity to honor veterans and show their support for soldiers at the Run for the Wall stopover in Gregg County on Sunday, May 19. The ride goes coast-to-coast, although bikers can join in at various points along the route, said Cynthia Gurganus, who is serving as East Texas Coordinator along with her husband, Ben.
“This was started by Vietnam veterans as a way to make people aware of the American military personnel who are prisoners of war or missing in action,” Gurganus said. “By coming to this event, people can show that we appreciate their service.”
The East Texas stop at the Gregg County Fairgrounds is a fuel and rest stop, she said. Volunteers will provide sandwiches, snacks and drinks to the riders. “We moved to the fairgrounds last year because the event had grown to big to hold at the VFW post, which is where it was originally,” Gurganus said.
About 700 motorcycle riders are expected to arrive in Longview on Sunday, as they ride along the southern route of the Run for the Wall. Both routes will unite outside of Washington, D.C. and arrive in the capital on Memorial Day. There is no charge for local residents to come out and show their support.
“It’s a really neat thing to be part of,” Gurganus said. “It’s very rewarding. You look at some of these guys and are just amazed at what they endured.” Gurganus has spent most of her life associated with the military. First as a self-described “Air Force brat” while growing up, then as a military wife to a husband who served first in the U.S. Navy and then in the National Guard. “People are stepping up and making an effort to welcome the servicemen and women who are now returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Gurganus said.
“It’s a far cry from the protests that greeted my husband when he returned from Vietnam.” Gurganus said she and her husband have never made the entire coast-to-coast ride, but hope to do so at some point. At least 500,000 motorcyclists are in the Run For The Wall by the time both routes meet up and it reaches Washington, D.C.
For more information, call 903 235-9079.