Thunder still rolling
The impact forced the motorcycle into another motorcycle, injuring both riders. One rider suffered a broken ankle, while the other suffered possible head and back injuries, witnesses said.
A U.S. Postal Service officer who was the first on the scene said it took the Metropolitan Police Department more than 20 minutes to respond to the accident.
An ambulance arrived within five minutes, he said.
“It’s a worthy cause, but the cars don’t want us here,” said Mr. Schoonover, who rode from Ohio beside his father for the rally. “It’s too crazy. My friend got run over last year at the loop at Arlington [National] Cemetery. I’m done.”
The bikers traveled from all over the world to participate in the rally and represented diverse walks of life.
Some came because they were veterans; others participated to pay tribute to their family and friends who served or died in the nation’s wars.
All of the bikers had two things in common: a love for motorcycles and a deep respect for American troops.
Many rode Harley-Davidsons that produce the distinctive tailpipe rumble that accounts for the group’s name. But the motorcycles were as varied as their riders.
Kerry Jones, 38, a defense contractor from St. Mary’s County, Md., joined the motorcycle parade on his Yamaha Secca XJ600. “I just want to show support and remember why we have this country, because people gave up their freedom so we can have ours,” he said.
Sally Attia, an Egyptian who works as an entertainment reporter for the U.S.-run Arabic-language satellite news channel Alhurra, was dressed in a white jumpsuit and riding on the back of a silver 1999 Harley-Davidson Soft Tail Custom. The bike was driven by a Philadelphia man who identified himself only as “Wolf.”
“I love the idea that we are all supporting the veterans,” Miss Attia said.
Robert Beach, 80, a Navy veteran who served in World War II and survived the torpedo attack on the USS Canberra, rode in the demonstration on his sky-blue 1996 Harley-Davidson Road King equipped with a sidecar. His wife, Frances, rode in the sidecar.
The front of the sidecar was decorated with the mascot from the USS Canberra, a kangaroo with an 8-inch cannon shell tucked under its arm and an array of 40 mm cannons at its feet. The rear of the sidecar was decorated with an air-brushed painting of the USS Canberra in battle.
“I love to ride and I’m a veteran,” said Mr. Beach, who lives in Woodbridge, Va. “I support Rolling Thunder and the ride to free men who have been prisoners.”