The song of freedom rumbled onto Fort Sill Friday morning.
For once, it wasn’t the sound of exploding ordinances on the post’s ranges; it was a roar from vets to honor those who serve and those who sacrificed all for its melody.
Run for the Wall is an annual motorcycle run from California to Washington, D.C., to honor veterans and call for an accounting of Prisoners of Wars (POWs) and those missing in action (MIAs). For the first time since the run began in 1989, they visited an Army post along the way, and that post was Fort Sill.
It was certainly an impressive spectacle when more than 100 motorcycles made their way through Fort Sill at around 11:25 a.m. Friday, with their final destination being the Artillery Museum on the east side of the base.
Run for the Wall Coordinator Jerry Wilkins then visited the Fort Sill cemetery, where he was welcomed by Kristopher Killsfirst, commander of the Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Veterans (KCA Veterans). Together, they attended a ceremony by the KCA Veterans, who also conducted the ceremony later in Constitution Park, consisting of tribal songs, speeches and a plaque.
“We want to thank all our veterans for their service and the freedoms we know,” Wilkins said. “We also want full accountability for all our POWs and MIAs.”
Wilkins has a personal stake in this year’s ride across the country. Although he’d been driving the Run for the Wall since 2011, this year is special to him. His father passed away last August.
“I’m riding for my father,” Wilkins said.
His father was born in Oklahoma and was a World War II veteran. Wilkins himself was born in Chickasha.
Run for the Wall plans to arrive in Washington, D.C., on Friday. On Saturday morning, they will visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall and lay a plaque at the wall.
The visit wasn’t just special for the motorcyclers, though.
“I’ve always heard of the Run for the Wall, but never participated in it,” Killsfirst said. “When a representative of Fort Sill asked us, we absolutely wanted to help. We said ‘You tell us what role you want us to be, and we’ll be there.'”
Killsfirst, who is a retired staff sergeant of the Army, and his fellow KCA Veterans have made it their mission since 2019 to honor all veterans, not just Native Americans. The goal is to invite everybody and exclude nobody, Killsfirst said.
“We want to educate people who we are and enjoy the day with them. We try our best to make everybody feel welcome.”
Killsfirst also highlighted the important role Native Americans play in the United States military. According to him, Native Americans are the largest minority in the military. At the same time, they have the largest participation per capita among any ethnicity, Killsfirst said.