Rolling Thunder made it to the White House this year, but the experience for the motorcycle-riding patriots was more pro forma photo oppportunity than heartfelt meeting with President Obama, the group says.
Rolling Thunder XXV
Latest news, photos and videos of the 25th Anniversary of Rolling Thunder, a gathering that brings veterans and bikers to Washington, D.C., every Memorial Day weekend to demonstrate for prisoner of war/missing in action awareness and veterans rights. The Washington Times — Official Newspaper of Rolling Thunder Inc.
By David Hill - The Washington Times
As hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists gathered Sunday morning outside the Pentagon for the 25th annual Rolling Thunder ride into the District, Jim Bradley couldn't help but marvel at the scene. Published May 27, 2012
The father of a U.S. soldier who was taken prisoner in Afghanistan thanked the motorcycle riders of Rolling Thunder on Sunday for raising awareness of missing-in-action troops and prisoners of war.
It was just a parade. For years, that's what Cottage City resident Wanda Prue thought about the thousands of motorcycle riders who descended on the District in late May.
Beyond the sheer size and cachet that the Rolling Thunder rally now carries, there remains at the heart of the gathering a tight-knit community of veterans, family and friends of former POWs and those still missing.
Rolling Thunder's imprint on Washington goes far beyond the roar of hundreds of thousands of bikes on city streets each Memorial Day weekend. The organization has aggressively pushed a broad legislative agenda, with several of its priorities now the law of the land.
More than 83,000 Americans are missing from overseas conflicts dating to World War II — and James Canik's mission is to account for each and every one of them.
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For many years following my USO tour, I was looking for some way to continue to help our troops and veterans, and I needed to share with someone the profound feelings I came away with after seeing war firsthand.
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Rolling Thunder made it to the White House this year. But the experience for the motorcycle-riding patriots was more clinical photo op than heartfelt meeting with President Obama, members of the group said Friday.
From The Vault
An estimated 500,000 motorcyclists rolled into Washington this year for the 22nd annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom.
At 3:30 p.m. Friday, President Obama met privately with representatives of the group famous for their support of active duty military, veterans and prisoners of war — not to mention their distinctive blend of patriotism that includes Old Glory and motorcycles.
The last time Rolling Thunder roared into Washington, the president welcomed them in the White House driveway with a smile on his face and heartfelt personal greeting. This year, maybe not.
They're rolling, and it is indeed thunderous - driven by heartfelt patriotism and Old Glory, flapping on the back of a Harley somewhere on the Capital Beltway.
Thousands of motorcyclists with the Rolling Thunder motorcycle group, including war veterans, rumbled into the District yesterday to deliver a request for President Bush to help missing service members and those struggling after returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.
More than 100 grizzled motorcyclists paid tribute yesterday to the members of the military who never returned home, laying a wreath at the bronze Lone Sailor of the U.S. Navy Memorial in Northwest.
An estimated 300,000 motorcyclists, led by members of Rolling Thunder, the motorcycle-riding veterans advocacy group, converged on the District yesterday to pay tribute to fallen comrades and call on the nation's leaders to find those soldiers still missing or unaccounted for.
Thousands of bikers rolled into the District yesterday for the 17th annual Rolling Thunder Memorial Day motorcycle ride and rally to show support for the nation's war veterans, the troops currently overseas and American prisoners of war still missing in action from past conflicts.
President Bush will be the first to meet privately with leaders of Rolling Thunder Inc. when the group's 200,000 motorcycle riders rumble into downtown tomorrow for their 17th annual Memorial Day weekend rally.
For Verlin Mattox, merging with the sea of bikers who rolled into the capital yesterday as part of the annual "Rolling Thunder" rally was part of the healing process for a war he fought 30 years ago.
It's become as much a part of Memorial Day in Washington, D.C., as backyard barbecues and Frisbees on the Mall: Thousands of motorcycles descend on the city to commemorate fallen soldiers and to call for the return of missing Vietnam-era prisoners of war.
The asphalt in front of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. shook for nearly two hours yesterday afternoon as a thick stream of motorcycles roared through town in memory of Vietnam POWs and MIAs.
Gallery: 17 Photos
An estimated 400,000 people rode in the Rolling Thunder rally, traveling en masse through the District and to the Mall continuing their mission for POW/MIA remembrance.
Gallery: 40 Photos
Rolling Thunder's Maryland chapter musters its members and rolls into D.C. and wash the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
Gallery: 4 Photos
Gallery: 13 Photos
A collection of images from over the years by Washington Times photographers highlighting the annual Rolling Thunder event that brings veterans and bikers to Washington DC every Memorial Day weekend to demonstrate for prisoner of war/missing in action awareness and veterans rights.
Ted Shpak, President of Rolling Thunder, joins Andy Parks Live From The Washington Times to talk about the history of the organization and the goals of the Memorial Weekend events.
Ben Wolfgang sits down with Andy Parks, LIve From The Washington Times, about the Memorial Weekend Rolling Thunder Events
Click for a downloadable copy of the Rolling Thunder XXV route map and event schedule, exclusively from The Washington Times. (724 KB)