Memorial Day weekend in 2015, we RV’d to Washington D.C. to take part in Rolling Thunder. This was our 4th Rolling Thunder “Run for the Wall”. While we were in D.C., we also visited the grave of a Fallen Hero friend, CSM Michael Buxbaum, and our Coast Guard Iraq KIA Nathan Bruckenthal in Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial.
That next Saturday, we rode over to American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, VA to meet up with our Veteran friends who we’ve met years prior and to see a former shipmate of Dan’s. Sunday morning, we woke before sunrise to ride with the American Legion’s ‘Run to the Thunder 2015’ to the Pentagon parking lot where the Rolling Thunder procession began.
For those who aren’t familiar with what Rolling Thunder is:
Rolling Thunder and its mission began as a demonstration following the era of the Vietnam War, which was a difficult time in our history. Many of America’s military were killed or missing in action (MIA) and their remains were not being returned home or respectfully buried. There were also reports of live prisoners of war (POW) who were left behind when the war ended.
In 1987, Vietnam veteran Ray Manzo, bothered by these accounts, came to DC with his idea and enlisted the help of fellow veterans Holland, Sides, and Sampley, to organize a motorcycle demonstration to bring attention to the POW/MIA situation.
Choosing Memorial Day weekend for the event, they envisioned the arrival of the motorcycles coming across the Memorial Bridge, and thought it would sound like “Rolling Thunder”. The first Run in 1988, had roughly 2500 motorcycles and riders demanding that the U.S. government account for all POW/MIA’s; it continues to grow every year, becoming the world’s largest single-day motorcycle event.
Now with over a million riders and spectators combined, Rolling Thunder has evolved into an emotional display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.
(borrowed for accuracy from http://www.rollingthunderrun.com/)
2015’s RTRFTW estimated over 200,000 motorcycles. We arrived at the Pentagon parking lot at 8:00 am and waited about 6 hours until we fired up our scoots to ride through Washington D.C.
Awaiting along the streets were grateful patriotic Americans cheering and waving in support of our mission and presence.
Some photos we took along the way. This time, we were two-upping on Lisa’s Harley because Dan’s was out of commission.
Once we finished the run, we parked in a field in the city and walked over to the Vietnam Wall and Lincoln Memorial. This was our fourth Rolling Thunder Run. It will no doubt, be a few years until we ride again. We will never forget the mission and reason for the run and hope we were heard by those who have forgotten that we still have American Servicemember POW’s and MIA’s in other countries.