“Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see!” The downtown stretch really was quite the site to see this past Thursday. As the town prepared to welcome in the Run for the Wall riders, the Standing on the Corner park filled with people from all over. The Run for the Wall is a group of veterans riding from the West Coast to Washington D.C. “Run For The Wall recognizes the sacrifices and contributions made by all veterans who have served our nation. Veterans of recent conflicts and those currently on active duty are especially welcome to join [them] as [they] ride for those who cannot.” Flags were passed out as the sidewalks filled with people. As they stopped traffic to let the school kids cross the street, a woman flagged me down to ask what was going on. As I explained the event we were preparing for the visitor’s got excited! “We’re going to park and come watch!!” Another group of people I met were from England and Canada and were here visiting. They just happened to be here on the right day and right time and had no idea this was going on. They were so excited, took up flags and staked out their corner to be able to participate. Navajo elders came out to honor the event. In that moment it didn’t matter how young or old anyone was. It didn’t matter who your ancestors were. It didn’t even matter what your nationality was. In that moment we were all there for the same thing: to honor these veterans and active duty men and women riding in honor of all who have served our country. And the feeling there was powerful!
Finally we could see the flashing lights as the Run was escorted into town. The kids all shot to their feet and the air was charged with electric emotion. The law enforcement passed, the lead cyclists came in and the cheering began. And I started bawling and my hands were shaking. It was so neat to be there in the middle of the crowd as the motorcyclists went by. Looking around as I was taking pictures there were others with tears, many many with grins, and everyone was waving a flag, raising a hand, and cheering. Everyone. Old, young, American, foreigners, white, Hispanic, Native America, conservative, liberal, etc. And that in and of itself was amazing.
I was so honored to be able to be one of the photographers for the city. We each stationed at different points in the group (one up in a lift to get more aerial shots), and documented the event so that we could send the photos to the Run For The Wall organization as just a small gift from Winslow, AZ. This was my second time being able to donate my time and abilities to this. I didn’t think it was possible to love it more than I did last year, but this year was even better. This is something that I hope to participate in for years and years to come, either with my camera or standing on the side cheering waving a big flag.