RICHLAND -- John Bennett rode 2,200 miles from Michigan on his motorcycle last week to spend this Father's Day with his son, Greg Bennett of West Richland.
And the younger Bennett made sure the gift for his dad would be memorable.
He made arrangements to include his father's name on a historical military plaque. The markers pay tribute to well-known military personnel in American history, and those who sponsor them can have their own tribute added to the bottom.
Greg Bennett, 33, rode with his dad on his motorcycle Saturday to see the marker at the corner of Thayer Drive and Langfitt Street in Richland.
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His pays tribute to Gen. William Campbell Langfitt, who served in the Spanish-American War and World War I.
The markers have brown bases and tan lettering, and are strategically placed on private properties around Richland. Bennett's marker is on property owned by Margaret Munro.
At the bottom of Langfitt's marker it reads:
"A Father's Day gift will last forever. Sgt. John Bennett, Vietnam veteran, father of Greg Bennett who provided this marker in honor of his father."
As his dad stood in front of the plaque and read the words at the bottom, his eyes filled with tears, though he remained silent and stood tall.
When he found his voice, he said, "It's beautiful, son. Just beautiful." Then he threw his arms around him and gave a bear hug.
"This was worth every pain in my butt I felt riding that bike 2,200 miles out here to see my son," the elder Bennett quipped.
John Bennett served in the Army during the Vietnam War. His father and sister served in the Air Force, as his daughter does now.
Munro came out to greet John Bennett upon his arrival.
"I just want to shake your hand," she told him. "I always want to support our veterans any way I can, and I take my hat off to this entire (marker) project."
Karen Miles, with the support of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7952, AMVETS Post 397, Army Corps of Engineers and city of Richland, got the first dedication started last December when Tinkle Street in Richland got a marker honoring Lt. Otto Spaulding Tinkel.
When Richland streets were named during the 1940s and '50s, Tinkel's name was misspelled on the street sign, Miles said.
"The city street name will remain as it is," she added. "But the historic marker will have the correct spelling."
Anyone interested in having a marker dedicated can call Miles at 946-2422.
As for the Bennetts, father and son plan to do a little fishing as well as get in a round or two of golf today, but nothing set in stone, other than spending some quality time together.
"We're just going to play it by ear," the John Bennett said with a smile.