Remembering those who fought for our country and never made it home
Memorial Day weekend is a couple of days away. Many of us will enjoy the weekend at a cookout or out on the water.
But it's also important to remember what this day is all about.
The Vietnam War came to an end more than forty years ago.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs more than three-million Americans were deployed to Southeast Asia during the war.
More than 58,000 Americans went to Vietnam, and never made it back home.
Jo Anne Shirley and her brother Bobby grew up in Macon, Georgia.
"I only had one brother. He was 2 years older than me," Jo Anne said. "We had a very close relationship.."
Bobby went to college then to medical School.
In September 1972 he joined the Air Force. A few months later he was sent to Vietnam
"It was raging," Jo Anne Shirley said. "He said, 'you know, if I don't go ahead and do it they are gonna draft me out of my residency. Then I'd have to start all over again.' So he just decided he we was just gonna go ahead and do his two years and then come back."
But Major Bobby Marvin Jones never made it back home.
He was on a flight to Da Nang, and they had to clear a mountain before making their landing.
"There's no justification about what happened to him," Jo Anne said. "What I believe is that they clipped the top of that mountain and crashed. I believe that somebody found those remains and buried them."
It was the loss of a close member of her family that lead her to another family.
"MIA family members often feel isolated." Karoni Forrester said these families often feel, "like the only people that understand are other MIA family members."
Karoni Forrester's father was also killed in Vietnam. She has no idea what happened to him
"No resolution at all," Karoni said.
Karroni and Jo Anne met while working with the National League of POW/MIA Families, and now Karoni spends every Memorial Day as a part of Run for the Wall .
"When I first participated and saw that there's all of these people who still care I was blown away," Karoni said.
This is a group of veterans, families and anyone who wants to ride. They travel across on motorcycle across the country to Washington D.C. to honor veterans and service members.
This group used to stop in Chattanooga for a meal every year. Now they make another stop in Dalton, Georgia. They eat with JoAnne and then go to The Gardens. It's an assisted living facility. They go there to see Jo Anne's mother.
Karoni told Jo Anne, "about six or seven years ago. We're gonna make a little detour when we come through because we want to see your mom."
As we get closer to this Memorial Day this group is thinking about what the day is all about. It' s about honoring all of the people who have served our country and never made it back home.
"I learned very quickly that this is not just about my brother Bobby it's about all of our guys that are missing, and it's about all of our service men today," Jo Anne said. "We have an obligation to never leave them behind."
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency's website .. *82- thousand Americans are still missing ... dating all the way back to World War II.
The Run for the Wall .. happens every year on Memorial Day ...
More than 16-hundred people ... are riding across the country right now ... and will meet in Washington D-C this weekend.
Their mission ... is all about honoring our nation's veterans and service members.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency's website 82,00 Americans are still missing dating all the way back to World War II.
The Run for the Wall happens every year on Memorial Day.
More than 1,600 people are riding across the country right now, and will meet in Washington D-C this weekend.
Their mission is all about honoring our nation's veterans and service members.