Run for the Wall continues a 20-year tradition Thursday at Montvale Elementary School

Bikers from Run for the Wall celebrated a decades-long tradition of visiting students at Montvale Elementary School on Thursday.

“Montvale is one of the favorite stops for Run for the Wall. The Veterans love the program that children do,” said Virginia State Coordinator Chris DiYorio, who has been a part of the group for eight years.

Run for the Wall is a cross-country motorcycle ride honoring veterans and raising awareness about prisoners of war and veterans who are missing in action. They travel to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. The motto is “We ride for those who can’t,” and the ride this year consists of about 1,200 bikers.

Anyone can join the ride. DiYorio said he is not a Veteran. However, he respects what they do for our country.

“That’s why we’re here; that’s why we’re free. The ride is non-political as well. That’s something that I really like as well. There are no political speeches; there’s none of that. It’s, ‘Hey man, we are here to say the names of these POWs, these MIAs, and tell their stories,” said DiYorio.

During the ride, Run for the Wall forms a missing man formation. It consists of five bikers who ride with a missing space. That missing space is where another person should be in the formation.

“They say when you ride in that missing man formation, even though there’s not a bike next to you, you feel it. You feel someone is there,” said DiYorio, “It’s a really special feeling.”

Groups travel to the Vietnam War Memorial from all over. The group visiting Montvale Elementary School on Thursday is from California. They left on May 15.

For more than 20 years, they have stopped by Montvale Elementary. DiYorio said he has visited the school for eight years. 10 News spoke with him about what he likes about the stop.

“Their enthusiasm for the Veterans. Just their smiling faces and saying thank you,” said DiYorio.

The bikers typically have lunch with the kids and spend time with them in their classrooms.

He said the kids also look forward to the visit. They even write thank you cards for coming to see them.

“And I have all eight of those, you know, in a special place. I do keep those,” said DiYorio.

Later in the day, Run for the Wall stopped by the D-Day Memorial in Bedford and the Harley-Davidson dealership in Lynchburg.

About the Authors

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

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