COOKEVILLE – For a fourth consecutive year, Cookeville will serve as a major stop for the “Run For the Wall,” a veterans’ motorcycle event.
Members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Cookeville Police Department and Putnam County Sheriff’s Department will escort more than 300 riders down Jefferson Avenue from 4:30-5 p.m. Monday, May 22. Local residents in past years have welcomed the riders with smiling faces and waving American flags; a sight that brings many in the procession to tears.
That invitation stands once again.
With a tagline of “Riding For Those Who Can’t,” the cross-country event calls attention to prisoners-of-war and those missing-in-action, honors those killed-in-action from all wars; and supports all United States military personnel around the globe.
The 10-day journey begins in Los Angeles, California, and ends on Memorial Day in Washington, D.C., at the Vietnam Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. The ride is both emotionally and physically demanding; Cookeville will serve as the only overnight stop in Tennessee.
“There is always one city that stands out,” said James “Gunny” Gregory, RFTW founder. “Cookeville is obviously that city for the Midway Route. This community’s hospitality is one I know remains in each of our hearts throughout the year, and only grows with each year we return.”
The Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors’ Bureau, city and county officials, local veterans’ service organizations, and Boswell’s Country Roads Harley-Davidson will join area residents and businesses to provide a “welcome” that many riders never received when returning home from war.
“Our community comes together each year to welcome these special guests to Cookeville and Putnam County,” said Zach Ledbetter, vice president of visitor development. “The local support and excitement for this impactful event only builds with each year. We are humbled to be a part of such a significant event.”
After a private dinner and meeting at the Leslie Town Centre, riders will rest at area hotels. On Tuesday morning, riders will stage at 7:30. in the Sam’s Club parking lot to continue their journey. Area residents are again encouraged to join the group to wave goodbye and wish them safe travels as they continue their mission.