Father's tribute ride around U.S. honors son killed in Afghanistan
SEATTLE -- Don Blanchard always wanted to ride the four corners of the United States on his motorcycle. But it wasn't until a conversation in March with his son Aaron, that finally got the wheels in motion.
"He goes, 'Dad, you need to do your ride before you get too old.'"
Aaron Blanchard died just one month later while serving in Afghanistan. The 32-year-old left behind a wife and two small children.
"You know, when he was killed, I just took a look at things, and, you know, I've been wanting to do this for 10 years," Don Blanchard recalls. "I finally decided, well, I'm gonna do it."
Don teamed up with the USO and created "A Father's Tribute Ride"
He left Seattle Aug. 3, made his way east to Maine, then down to Washington D.C.
"I went to the Wall. I went to Arlington. I went to the VA Hospital there in Washington," he says.
As he rode out west again, he found himself at times in good company.
"A lot of the way, I had the Patriot Guard Riders would meet me and ride through states with me, and so, really, I wasn't alone very often."
As the miles rolled under him, Don made his peace.
"It gives me solitude. And I pray and talk to Aaron. To me, its just a healing process."