Needles, CA: Giving thanks to all who served in our military during an event welcoming the Run For The Wall 2017.

Needles, CA: Giving thanks to all who served in our military during an event welcoming the Run For The Wall 2017.

The community of Needles, California gave thanks to those who served in our military during the Run For The Wall 2017 held on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017.

The Run For The Wall 2017 recognizes the sacrifices and contributions made by all veterans who have served our nation, and every year, hundreds of motorcycle riders, including veterans of recent wars and those currently on active duty, roll out on across the United States of America ending at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, District of Columbia where they will honor those who can’t make the ride, the fallen, the disabled and the still missing.

As hundreds of motorcycle riders roll out on across the United States of America, communities welcome them at events, including Needles, California.

Volunteers from the community as well as members of the Needles Chamber of Commerce began in the morning setting up chairs and tablets as well as a staging area for the ceremony during the event and American flag drawings made by children from our local schools were set up so everybody can see.

** Picture from 19th Hole Bar and Grill: **

As set up was completed at Santa Fe park, motorcycle riders roll along old Route 66 passing a roll of American Flags set up along a bridge crossing over Interstate 40 on the west side of Needles, California.

The motorcycle riders then rolled by all of the construction work going on Needles Highway and West Broadway as part of the Interstate 40 / Arizona Highway 95 Connector Project, and rolled through the North K Street Underpass safely with San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department stopping traffic.

The line of motorcycles rolled along old Route 66 as American flags waved by employees with Needles Area Transit, a man saluting at all of the motorcycle riders, and the Needles High School Band performed some patriotic music as the motorcycle riders arrived to Santa Fe Park.

** Live Video from ZachNews on Facebook: **

ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez was at the event in Downtown Needles, California and began filming on Facebook Live the arrival of the Run For The Wall 2017 motorcycle riders as well as the event being held at Santa Fe Park.

** Picture (Top) from 19th Hole Bar and Grill and Picture (Bottom) from ZachNews: **

The motorcycle riders got to enjoy a delicious lunch by the great staff and crew at 19th Hole Bar and Grill in Needles, California, who our home made tacos to all the Run for the Wall 2017 participants as well as those participating in the ceremony.

** Picture from ZachNews: **

Run for the Wall 2017 participants enjoyed the delicious tacos from 19th Hole Bar and Grill under the shade and next to the newly painted cannon’s fence and oiled wheels as part of the restoring process and work by local volunteers for a new Santa Fe Park Veteran’s Memorial.

** Picture from ZachNews: **

The ceremony part of the event was kicked off by George DeLeon, Commander with the V.F.W. Post 404 in Mohave Valley, Arizona, welcoming everybody to Needles, California.

The National Anthem was performed by Cheree Souter while the Fort Mojave Color Guard presents the colors.

** Pictures from ZachNews: **

During a ceremony, the family of Richard Anthony Gonzales, born in Needles, California in 1941, received his esteemed Bronze Medal.

According to the Needles Chamber of Commerce, Richard served both in the Korean and Vietnam Theaters.

He specialized in welding, blueprints and measures, food service and motor transport.

While in Vietnam, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for exceptional meritorious achievement in the Republic of Vietnam from Wednesday, January 1st, 1969 to Saturday, May 31st, 1969, and serving in ground operations with the 101st Airborne Division.

Richard was also awarded The Army Commendation Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Marksman M-14 Medal.

After the Vietnam War, he served in the California National Guard.

Richard was honorably discharged on Thursday, May 9th, 1985, and died on Monday, April 23rd, 2007, buried with full military honors at Riverside National Cemetery.

Richard loved his community of Needles, California and the Colorado River as well as playing baseball and being with family and friends.

A folded flag from the V.F.W. Post 404 Honor Guard was also presented to Richard’s family during the ceremony followed by a gun salute and the playing of “Taps”.

A moment was touching and some in the crowd teared up, and afterwards, Run for the Wall 2017 participants began going over to the family of Richard Anthony Gonzales and giving their thanks for his service.

** Picture from ZachNews: **

City of Needles Mayor Edward T. Paget presented a proclamation declaring Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 as “Run For The Wall Day” in the City of Needles.

** Picture from ZachNews: **

The Mohave High School R.O.T.C., under the guidance of U.S.A.F. (Ret) Major Earl Davis performed during the event.

** Picture from ZachNews: **

The event ended with the Fort Mojave Tribal Band performing to all of the Run for the Wall 2017 participants.

The Run for the Wall 2017 participants thanked the community of Needles, California for welcoming them into their community and putting on a great event.

As the group of motorcycles waved goodbye to everybody at Santa Fe Park and began rolling east, ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez was awaiting the lines of motorcycle to roll under the Five Mile Road overpass along eastbound Interstate 40.

** Live Video from ZachNews on Facebook: **

ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez began filming on Facebook Live as the long line of motorcycle riders drove by the Five Mile Road overpass waving at our camera and a women who ruched all the way down to the overpass to wave her American flag at the motorcycle riders.

Some vehicles and semi trucks driving along the lines of motorcycles blew their horn in support of the motorcycle riders.

The event at Santa Fe Park is put on each year by so many great people from our community and despite a little change to the arrival route, the event turnout to be a wonderful and touching event.

Many thanks to all of the people who participated in putting on the Run For The Wall 2017 event in Downtown Needles, California, and we all hope that more businesses, organizations, and volunteers continue to help keep this event going.

The Run For The Wall 2017 organization promotes healing among all veterans and their families and friends, to call for an accounting of all Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action (P.O.W./M.I.A.), to honor the memory of those Killed in Action (K.I.A.) from all wars, and to support our military personnel all over the world.

** More information regarding the Run For The Wall is at the following Run For The Wall website address:

Thank you to all of the Run for the Wall 2017 participants for putting on this ride and may you have a safe journey across America.

May we always remember and give thanks to all veterans and their families and friends who were in the military, never forgetting what all of the sacrifices our brave men and women do for us and our country.

Thank You and God Bless America!!

** Pictures by ZachNews Photojournalist Zachary A. Lopez. **



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