Continued from page 1

This will be Ms. Mendicino’s 15th Rolling Thunder, and she’ll be one of the event’s featured speakers.

At 25, she has attended the rolling rally more than half her life. She first became interested in veterans’ causes when she was introduced to a World War II veteran who spoke at her grade school.

She said in recent years, more veterans from the nearby hospitals have come to watch Rolling Thunder, many of them returning to watch the next year.

“I think there definitely needs to be a push of younger members, getting the younger generations out there,” she said.

Ms. Mendicino said the way to do that is exposure. Whether that means introducing a veteran to a classroom or bringing one’s children to a rally like Rolling Thunder.

“It’s not that the younger generations don’t care, they don’t know,” she said.

Ms. Mendicino’s fellow speakers on Sunday include Navy veteran Shane Osborn, a candidate for Nebraska state treasurer; Air Force veteran Myke Shelby, owner of Harley-Davidson outlet in San Diego; and Lynn O’Shea, research director for the National Alliance of Families.

Rolling Thunder will likely be the most attended event of the weekend, but others are scheduled for the holiday. At 9 p.m. Friday a candlelight vigil is scheduled at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Harley-Davidson of Washington is hosting a barbecue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and a visit to the U.S. Navy Memorial is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.

“There’s a lot of real personal moments,” Ms. Regg said. “You cry, you laugh, you cry some more, laugh some more. You see people you haven’t seen in a year, meet new friends, meet old friends. It’s just an amazing weekend.”