NewsCovering Colorado


Veterans ride across the country in motorcycles to Run For The Wall

Run For The Wall features 2500+ former servicemembers going coast to coast
Run For The Wall
Posted at 8:23 PM, May 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 22:23:50-04

PUEBLO, FOUNTAIN — Since a small group of Vietnam veterans in 1989 decided to ride their motorcycles to Washington D.C. to honor their fallen service members, the Run For The Wall ride-along has grown into a coast-to-coast trip for over 3500 veterans.

This weekend, a group of 445 riders made their way through Colorado, taking a pit stop at Pueblo and parading in Fountain for fallen Fountain Police Officer Julian Becerra.

"Seeing it is one thing, but riding in it is a whole different thing," said a spectator watching the motorcycles drive by.

Community members came out to support the veterans as they drove through town and Senior Vice Commander for the American Legion of Colorado Cornell Penn says that's special.

"To me, it means the rest of America remembers," said Penn.

"It’s a ride of honor, it’s a ride of remembrance, and it’s a ride of healing," said Communications Director and veteran Ted Kapner. “These are some of the best men and women I’ve ever met.”

The riders all move together in one unit, all stopping for gas, meals, and hotel stays as one group. The purpose of the ride is to get to the various war memorial walls for fallen service members.

Kapner also said this feeling of community that the veterans share can be helpful for dealing with past trauma or unresolved issues.

“There’s a lot of individuals who ride with us who have things they’re dealing with, said Kapner. "Some of those things, those injuries come out, and we’re here for them, we want to help them heal, we want to surround them with love, and let them know it’s okay."

While riding across highways around the country, the group consciously makes a decision to leave one spot empty for the "missing man formation."

“This part of our ride, we have a missing man formation, and we keep that space available so everybody can see there’s somebody missing here," said veteran and route coordinator Paul Marshall.

Marshall noted that in Colorado, the group would be riding in honor of Becerra, who died earlier this year while on duty.

“He served as a police officer in Fountain, but he also served in the United States Air Force," said Marshall.

The group will continue to ride across the United States every year they can, organizers tell me. To learn more about the group and its mission, you can visit the Run to the Wall Website.

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