Run for the Wall observes Memorial Day in Belmont County

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — An annual three-day motorcycle ride called Run for the Wall observed Memorial Day at the Belmont County Heritage Museum on Monday morning.

More than 300 motorcycles participating in Run for the Wall parked on Main Street, which was closed in coordination with the St. Clairsville Police Department. The assembly was hosted by the Belmont County Tourism Council, and the St. Clairsville High School Marching Band played the national anthem.

This specific route of the Run for the Wall is called the Sandbox Route and its mission is to go “Wall to Wall,” meaning that it starts at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., and ends at the Middle East Conflicts Wall in Marseilles, Illinois.

“It’s truly an honor to come to such a town that espouses the very values that we ride for. So we thank you for your warm hospitality, and we could not be happier than to observe Memorial Day in St. Clairsville in Belmont County, Ohio,” route coordinator Heidi ‘Blue’ Hansing said.

She added that the Run for the Wall rides would like to express their appreciation to St. Clairsville Mayor Kathryn Thalman, tourism Director Jackee Pugh, the St. Clairsville Police Department, the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Tri-State Military Veterans Museum, and VFW Post 5356. The Run for the Wall riders presented each of the entities with its own plaque as a token of appreciation.

Thalman addressed the Run for the Wall riders.

“This brings a tear to my eye. We’ve got the real heart of our country, the soul of our country, standing in the street,” she said. “You guys are why we have our freedom, and I cannot thank you enough. I grew up in a military family, and what you embody and represent are the finest parts of our country.

“This is smalltown America. We love God, we love our family and we love our country.”

Belmont County Board of Commissioners President Jerry Echemann spoke next and welcomed and thanked everyone for being in attendance.

“Wasn’t it nice how the sun broke out right in the middle of our national anthem?” he observed. “This event means so much to us here in Belmont County. It’s just so beautiful to have you all here.”

Executive Director of the America 250 Ohio Commission Todd Kleismit was the guest speaker.

He started by thanking Pugh for inviting him to speak at the event and for all that she does for Belmont County. He then addressed the Run for the Wall riders.

“As I look out at all of you, I’m reminded of the phrase we hear a lot, especially during Memorial Day, and that is ‘All gave some, some gave all,” Kleismit said.

He spoke about the power of hearing that phrase for the first time and how he believes the Run for the Wall riders embody that statement.

“Thank you again for being here in the great state of Ohio. Individually, we could have all stayed home, but instead you raised your hand, you are being part of something larger,” he added.

The assembly ended with a rifle volley that included Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas as a participant. Lucas is set to retire at the end of his term on Jan. 5, 2025, but he said that even though he will be retiring he will still be participating in the Memorial Day assembly.


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