Rolling Thunder is quite an event. This year (2010) was my second year in attendance and I am amazed at how much this ride effects me. To see the number of motorcyclists that come out in support of this great cause gives me goose bumps – an estimated 900 000 motorcyclists attend. And if you have not been to this event, you are missing one of the best in the Nation. I was there with the BAM team (Free Breakdown and Legal Assistance for Motorcyclists) which consisted of Roz and I and with Carmella Brown and Lisa Petrocelli of the infamous New York Rider Magazine. Lisa Petrocelli has an amazing way with words so I am sharing with you the article she wrote about this past weekends extraordinary event. And if you don’t have Rolling Thunder, Ride to the Wall, 2011 on your events calendar for next year, you are missing out.
You can check out Lisa’s articles at the Examiner, she is writing about us bikers all the time. Keep up the good work Lisa!
Rolling Thunder 2010 is now a memory but the impact that the 900,000+ bikers made this past weekend in Washington, D.C. will live on in the chronicle of this awesome organization.
Some history on Rolling Thunder, taken from their web site: In the fall of 1987, two Vietnam veterans met to discuss their personal concerns about the prisoners of war (POW) and missing in action (MIA) from the Vietnam War. Having honorably served their country, they were deeply troubled by the abhorrent neglect of attention given to those who did not make it out with their lives or their freedom. These two veterans discussed the more than 10,000 reported sightings of live Americans living in dismal captivity. Intelligence reports of these sightings were generally ignored by the government and mainstream press. Artie Muller and Ray Manzo were these two veterans. Artie and Ray were ordinary men who understood that they had a right to have their voices heard and proceeded to lay down the plans for a gathering in Washington, D.C. during the 1988 Memorial Day weekend. They reached out to their families, fellow veterans and veteran’s advocates to unify and form a march and demonstration in the nation’s Capital. Word spread quickly and by Memorial Day weekend in 1988, approximately 2,500 motorcycles from all over the country converged on Washington, D.C. to demand from our leaders a full accounting of all POW/MIA’s. On that day, the foundation was laid for the annual "Ride for Freedom" to the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall (also referred to as the "Ride to the Wall"). The number of participants / spectators in the Memorial Day weekend Ride for Freedom has grown from 2,500 to an estimated 900,000.
There really are no words to describe what it is like to participate in the Ride to the Wall. D.C. already has a natural patriotic “feel” to it at any time of the year, but when you see the thousands of bikers there FOR THE SAME PURPOSE every year it is awe-inspiring. The sea of motorcycles in the Pentagon parking lot on Sunday morning every year (and that long, long wait for the bikes to begin the parade) is always overwhelming no matter how many times it is witnessed. Tim, the Marine who, in full-dress uniform and often scorching temps, salutes every single motorcyclist who rides by, standing tall and unwavering. Tim has established a tradition that cannot be rivaled, and he exemplifies the meaning of a soldier. Watching the many, many bikers, and other visitors to D.C. gives everyone lucky enough to be in this part of the world on Memorial Day weekend an enormous sense of pride for our soldiers and our country. It is very common to see the tiniest of children and the oldest of our Americans standing in line just to salute the bikers, many whom are Vets themselves. The thunder of the motorcycles throughout the day is loud, constant, and relentless, just as is Rolling Thunder’s unceasing mission to bring ALL of our POW/MIA’s home.
Visit Rolling Thunder’s web site for more information and read all about Tim, the saluting soldier, at http://auto.military.com/roadwarriors/view/road-trips/97682.html, or his myspace: http://www.myspace.com/tim4america .