Today is Memorial Day. Take a moment of to give thanks to the many service members and their families for their sacrefices.
The Mission Statement from the official RFTW.org website:
Mission Statement: To promote healing among all veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (POW/MIA), and to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (KIA) from all wars.
As I ride the twisties up to Raton from Angel Fire, I don’t have much time to think. I am busy concentrating on riding—staying in formation, not running into the rider in front of me or the rider beside me. I get an occasional glance among the rocks and scenery, though.
The highway does straighten out and I have the opportunity to process the ride. Exactly why am I out here doing this? Before the ride, I wanted to have the experience. After all, riding across the country is no small feat! The mission of the RFTW is also one that I support as well.
Getting to the outskirts of Raton, I get my first feeling of why the mission is so important. As we pass underpasses, service members and their families stand on the overpasses with flags and salute the riders. When we get to Raton, there are a great many people that have turned out to see the bikes pass by—many holding signs of thanks and waving flags.
As I ride by and watch, I am deeply touched. While I never served, I am service connected. My father was retired Air Force with time served in Korea and my son’s father is retired Army with time served in both Iraqi wars as well as missions around the world.
With my ex and his time served overseas, my family paid the price. Upon his last return, he was so very changed and as a result, our marriage ended. No, it wasn’t a loss of life or limb, but it was a death—of our family. While I don’t blame the breakdown entirely on the stress of war, had he not gone, the odds of survival for our family would have been much higher.
However, what happened happened. Today, my ex has more or less reverted back to his “regular” self and remains a large force in my son’s life. For our marriage, it is broken and unmendable. I hold no bitterness; it simply is what is was and understand that placing blame does no good nor does it change what happened.
As I pull into town, the overwhelming support of everyone just blows me away. It makes me realize that there are many citizens of this great country that give thanks to the cost of those who pay in blood, sweat and tears. I am deeply humbled by the outpouring of thanks, love and support.
In Raton, a new experience unfolds. Fuel. How on earth are 400 motorcycles fueled in 20 minutes? Quickly and efficiently, that’s how!
But that’s another story.
Keep The Shiny Side Up!
~The Rainbow Wahine