BEDFORD (WSLS 10) - Hundreds of motorcyclists traveled through Central and Southwest Virginia Thursday for a good cause.
From Los Angeles, California to Arlington, Virginia, veterans are riding in the 27th annual "Run for the wall."
It's an event to promote healing among veterans and their families as well as remembrance of all POW's and those killed in action. More than 400 bikers road through Wytheville, Bedford and Lynchburg Thursday.
Veterans are on what they say is perhaps the most important mission of their lives. Vietnam Veteran Jim "Stoney" Stone says the run is a chance for many to receive the gratitude they didn't get when they first came home.
"We get to see the America we served for," Stone said.
A new generation, that thanks to them, is free. Hundreds line the road waiting to show their gratitude for the heroes as they ride past. An appreciate Stone says is very appreciated, no matter how late after service.
"America is different than what it was in 1975. When I came home, nobody cared. When some of these guys came home they got spit on."
Stone and other veterans like Marty Gelbhar, who's made the journey from coast to coast 15 times now says part of what they do is to teach children about the sacrifice so many made before them.
"It teaches patriotism. When we go the schools, they teach patriotism," Gelbhar said.
On their stop Thursday was Montvale Elementary school. Hundreds of students wearing red, white and blue stood outside in a line waving the American flag as they passed by.
"It's unbelievable. There is no other way of putting it," Gelbhar said.
An appreciation that many say they are forever grateful for.
"Those kinds of things…. again it's the America we served for," Stone said.
Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved