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Vietnam Veterans ride from California to Las Cruces

Hundreds of bikers have joined the Run For Wall, a support caravan for Vietnam Veterans riding all the way from Ontario California to Washington DC, stopping in Las Cruces along the way.

It’s a ride with many meanings, organizers say, from bringing support to vets and remembering prisoners of war.

“For me it’s about bringing them home, holding our government accountable to go back and find these young men,” said Jaime Spake, who was at the event.

Years after the Vietnam conflict, many still seek help.

“Fifty years ago I stepped off the airplane at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Republic of Vietnam as an 18-year-old kid,” said Peter Ashby, a Vietnam veteran.

For some, these annual events have been their first time at finding closure from peers.

“It took 45 years unfortunately for some big ugly biker to hug me and say ‘Welcome home,'” Ashby said.

Stopping at the Las Cruces Vietnam Memorial, it was difficult for the vets and supporters to not notice damage to the memorial discovered Thursday morning, the helicopter’s broken window and stolen letters.

“These guys gave so much and the city went through so much expense to build this. For somebody to come through and desecrate it in that manner, it’s senseless,” said Randy Balsamo, one of the supporters.

Still the group had to ride onward to Washington, leaving the damaged memorial behind waiting for repairs.

The Run for the Wall is set to reach Washington on May 25.

The City of Las Cruces told ABC-7 the repairs for the helicopter and memorial will be paid by the City itself.

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