Hundreds of bikers ride through Mt. Vernon on way to D.C.

MT. VERNON, IL (KFVS) - For the 30th year in a row, hundreds of veterans and supporters stopped in Mt. Vernon on a 10 day cross country motorcycle ride known as Run for the Wall.

The event starts in California and ends in Washington D.C. On this route, there are around 500 bikes in the group. There are three routes all together meeting in D.C. amounting to around 1,600 riders.

According to Harry Steelman, who's ridden in Run for the Wall for the past 12 years, says most of them are veterans, including himself. He says this event is about more than just going on a long bike ride.

"As we ride across country, it becomes a very strong emotional healing experience for the veterans who have served," he said.

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He says one of the greatest things about the Run for the Wall ride is seeing the way towns react to them coming through town. The change from how people treat Vietnam veterans, like himself, between now and when he came home is everything to him.

"It feels like crying. What can I say? It just does," he said, "Because 50 years ago people didn't care, and now they do."

Some other riders in the group didn't serve in the military but are still a part of Run for the Wall as a way to give back. One of those people is Sonia Ammann, who is on her 15th ride with this event.

"It's the opportunity for me to welcome them officially across country. To be there for them, and support them as they do it," she said, "And to see how can I help them support their emotions."

The pack stopped for a donated lunch at the Mt. Vernon Outland Airport this afternoon and will reach the Vietnam Memorial Wall this Memorial Day Weekend.

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