More than a half-million bikers joined in the 26th annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle trek into the nation’s capital on May 26 for their annual Sunday before Memorial Day Ride for Freedom. As the motorcycles thundered into D.C., onlookers cheered them on along their route from points along the Potomac River to the Washington Mall.
“Nobody else loves America the way you love America,” Rolling Thunder founder Artie Muller told hundreds of riders just hours before they assembled in the Pentagon parking lot in Arlington.
“Our veterans, our clubs, veterans organization and the public are unbelievable.” ~ The Washington Times
Rolling Thunder, getting its name from the thunderous sound made by the thousands of motorcycles coming into town, made its first ride to the Vietnam War Memorial In 1987. Rolling Thunder’s mission is to improve veteran benefits and resolve POW/MIA issues.
For 65-year-old Vietnam veteran, Pete Clark from McKinney, Texas, this was the first year he joined in the annual ride into D.C on his Harley; and it was also his first time visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial where he spent several hours.
“It was emotional,” said Mr. Clark, who served as a staff sergeant in the Army.
“I just texted my wife to tell her I’m going to do this every year now,” he said.
Another first timer riding into D.C. with Rolling Thunder, Dan Geyer, 65, from Daytona Beach, Fla., said he postponed some surgery to ride in the annual event.
“I’ve got friends on the Wall,” he said, referencing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. “I came to pay my respects.”
Retired Army sergeant first class Gary Romig, 48, credits Rolling Thunder for helping Americans remember what Memorial Day is about:
“Too many of our soldiers are still missing in all different war zones,” said Mr. Romig, a retired Army sergeant first class.
“If you served your country, you deserve to be here. You don’t deserve to be in some cage. You deserve our honor, our respect. This is so we don’t forget that.”
So, as we enjoy a day off from work and the camaraderie of being with family and friends at cookouts across this great land, let’s all take some time to remember what Memorial Day should be about.
Thank you veterans, one and all.
For more on the 2013 Ride for Freedom, see the video accompanying this article.
- Thank you veterans
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