Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Face of America - some memorable moments

As LDR put it, this experience is unforgettable. It was a pleasure to work so hard for something so worthwhile. I cannot fathom the amount of planning and adjusting that goes into an event such as this, but somehow, it ran smoothly and allowed the riders to concentrate on the ride, while all other details were taken care of.

There were many memorable moments, but these stick out in my mind:

*Watching Walter Reed's CSM coin a Marine who was at Iwo Jima and offer heartfelt thanks for his service. The respect and reverence were palpable.

*Seeing familiar faces, both as volunteers and as riders; what a great bonding experience.

*Appreciating all the groups that came out to assist at the rest and meal stops. Whether it was a church group, the Boy Scouts or others, our riders were greeted warmly and enthusiastically at every stop, with banners hung to welcome each rider as they finished one more leg of the ride.

*Laughing with our warriors at various rest stops, as they explained, often in great comedic detail, what it would take to ease the discomfort of riding such a great distance. I learned of products I never knew existed.

*Admiring how fellow riders offered assistance to those who struggled, regardless of branch, rank or injury.

*Witnessing wounded warriors, riding alongside their military brothers as well as civilians, all sharing one road, all striving to complete the grueling ride in relentless heat. It was truly incredible seeing the sense of accomplishment and renewed faith in themselves.

*Standing at the finish line in Gettysburg, as the riders arrived all at once, being led by those on hand cranked cycles, amid the cheers of the crowd that gathered, under a beautiful American flag blowing in the wind.

This was truly an amazing experience and one I encourage participation in, whether it is as a volunteer or rider. Next year, give an hour, a day, or a weekend to assist during the ride and make memories of your own...

Monday, April 27, 2009


Well, the long anticipated weekend has come and gone. What a wonderful weekend it was! The work was worth it! The heat--if the riders didn't complain, we didn't either!!

320 individuals participated--whether cycling or volunteering. A tentative count has it at about 280 cyclists covering 110 miles over 2 days from Bethesda MD to Gettysburg PA. I am sorry to say that I was not able to take pictures, but will be posting links to sites that will post them.

So many different people rode. "Angels" to an ambassador; Injured to non-injured; Sailors to Soldiers to Marines to Coast Guard to Air Force; Generals to Privates; Civilians to Milbloggers :-); people of all ages.

Here's some things from YouTube--and yes, I tear each time I look at these. These were forwarded onto me from friends--thanks!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqIFjwMmR20 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9Sb2F3_gh8 Oh, and here's a video that was aired on the DC Fox News Friday night http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/news/local/042409_injured_soldiers_bike_ride

I am glad that we have been given this opportunity to work this event. So much good comes from an event such as this. The bonding between riders and volunteers can not be explained. For those of us that return every year--it's seeing old friends and catching up. To those riders that were recently injured, it shows they can still do things they did before they were injured. At the end of the very first ride I worked on, a young man who had lost his leg in Iraq and had just finished 110 miles, looked at me with the biggest smile on his face and said "L, this is the first time since I lost my leg that I felt normal".....You betcha we work to make that happen for all our warriors!

I am proud and honored to be working with the fine group of people who put on this event. Thank you!