By Becky Holland
MARSHALL – Traffic continued to be steady on I-20 Sunday afternoon as approximately 30 individuals gathered on the overpass off of Exit 610. Horns began honking and passer-bys waved as the citizens began holding up the American Flag.
Amanda Ash of Marshall said, “It is amazing to see – we can be divided over things, but once the American Flag comes out, we are united. We all for the most part are patriotic.”
Ash’s husband, Sgt. Jeff Ash of Marshall, agreed. He said this was the first time he had been a part of such an event. Many of those who honked and waved at the citizens were truckers. Ash said, “A lot of them were veterans.”
The couple was there along with the others to support the motorcycle riders participating in the Run for the Wall, who were on their way to Washington, D.C.
The riders, including some from Patriot Guard groups, were from all over the United States, and had started last
week in California. A number reaching around 400 riders passed through Harrison County waving and honking.
Two of the ambassadors with the riders stopped by to greet the group from Harrison County which included Melinda Gaulden, who spearheaded the gathering.
For Gaulden, this event was extra-special. Her late brother, Joe McCoy’s remains were being carried by one of the riders from Palestine, Texas, to Washington. McCoy passed away in October 2015.
According to Gaulden, during a special service in Washington on May 27, the rider who has ‘custody’ of her brother’s ashes will spread Joe’s ashes at the Wall, along with others. The ride began May 18 from California.
Watching the riders pass through, Gaulden’s eyes misted over. She kept her brother’s widow up-to-date on the event via text.
Tracy Jackson stood holding one of the biggest flags “I have been a part of services when the Patriot Guard has participated, and we have gotten to be friends with some … we will go out and talk and hug,” Jackson said.
But today’s event was very special to Jackson – even a bit personal. “I didn’t know Uncle Joe (McCoy) until he came to visit Melinda and Richard. We hit it off immediately, and talked a lot,” Tracy said.
Members of the ambassadors for the ride drove up on the overpass to say hello to those in the community who had gathered at the overpass. One of them said, “Ya’ll should know just how important this is for all of the guys to see supporters up here.” Riders gave flag pins and RFTW stickers out.
Horns from semi-trucks and cars all honked, waved and blinked their lights. Officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety led the 400 motorcycles down I-20. The cyclists were grouped together as they roared down the highway.
Melinda Gaulden smiled thinking just how much fun her brother would have if he was alive.
More pictures from the day’s events can be found at http://facebook.com/pineywoods.news.
Other videos are available on our Piney Woods News You Tube channel.