On Saturday, Sept. 22, there will be a motorcycle ride from American Legion Post 25 in Washington C.H. to the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall that will be set up in Chillicothe from Sept. 19-23.
The ride will begin at 5 p.m., but participants should get to the Legion Post between 3 and 4 p.m. to line up. After visiting the wall, participants will ride back to the Legion Post, located at 1240 US 22, where local bands “Damaged” and “Screaming Evidence” will put on a concert.
The Ride to the Wall is being organized by local veterans Sam Johnson and Shawn Nichols. Johnson served in the Navy for 22 years and Nichols served in the Army for three. So far, about 130 people have committed to attending and over 1,000 people have expressed interest, according to Johnson, who said, “I hope we have a decent turnout.”
Nichols said he has helped to organize the ride because, “I think it’s only proper, you know, we pay our respects,” adding, “the whole main objective to what we’re doing is to show respect to the people that served in Vietnam and the names on the wall [of the people] who unfortunately didn’t get to come home.”
In addition to paying their respects at the wall, participants in the ride will be asked to bring items to donate to the veterans living at the Chillicothe VA assisted living facility, which is called Freedom’s Path, and the homeless shelter. Johnson and Nichols are looking to collect everything from canned goods to cleaning supplies to dog food and bird seed.
Nichols said it’s important to show appreciation and respect for Vietnam veterans now because many of them were not treated well upon their return from the war. He said, “Our generation was welcomed home with open arms and this generation was spit on.”
In addition to the bands that will play at the Legion Post once the riders return from the wall, Nichols and Johnson have invited a number of veterans’ organizations to set up tables where they can share information about the services they offer to veterans.
Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124 or @MeganNeary2