325 motorcycles bearing more than 400 people rolled into the National D-Day Memorial the Thursday afternoon before Memorial Day. It’s part of the annual Run for the Wall. The Wall is the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, a black granite wall that bears the names of the more than 50,000 Americans who were killed in the Vietnam War. The bikers come from all over the United States and ride from coast to coast. They ride in two groups, the Northern Route and the Southern Route. The Southern Route comes through Bedford and stops at the National D-Day Memorial and lays a wreath under the arch to show respect for them more than 4,000 men killed on D-Day. The riders are mostly veterans and mostly veterans of the Vietnam War.

It’s a well-organized ride. The riders are organized in platoons and there are riders, identified by bright yellow gear, who’s task it is to make sure they don’t lose track of anybody.

In Virginia, they get a Virginia State Police escort. The riders were preceded by a large group of Virginia State Police motorcycle troopers with blue lights flashing. The troopers said they do it to honor these veterans for their service. Bedford Town Police met them and blocked Burks Hill Road at its intersection with the road that leads to the Memorial so the riders could safely make the left turn.

The riders got time to walk about the Memorial. Usually, it’s hotter than blazes when they come through, but Thursday was a pleasant, cool overcast day. The riders were a polite, thoughtful group and enjoyed their stop.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Jeremy Richarson, of San Antonio, Texas. A Vietnam veteran. He was a Navy gunner’s mate aboard the USS Rathburne (FF-1057), a Knox class frigate. This was his fourth ride, but his first ride on the Southern Route, so this is the first time he had ever seen the D-Day Memorial.