- - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Since 1990, Army veteran Gerald McCullar has joined Rolling Thunder, Inc. demonstrations in a most memorable way: Rain or shine, he travels the route seated inside a bamboo “tiger cage” to remind others of the suffering and torture of U.S. service members who were held as prisoners of war in Southeast Asia.

Mr. McCullar’s flowing white beard and raggedy clothes are by design. It “makes a statement,” he said, adding he has met people who remembered seeing him in the cage when they attended an event as children.

The POW “tiger cage” journey started with the help of a local chapter of Rolling Thunder, Mr. McCullar said.

Having a man ride inside a cramped cage helped people imagine the kind of isolation, confinement, starvation, brutality and torture that was meted to POWs during the Vietnam war. “I did it one time” and it got people talking, he said. “And it just went on from there.”

Today, Mr. McCullar, who is in his mid-70s and lives in Illinois, often brings the cage to vigils, ceremonies and other events to keep the POW/MIA issue fresh in people’s minds. And yes, he will soon be in the District to join the May 28 Rolling Thunder, Inc. XXX Ride for Freedom.

“I like to think that it gives them something to take home besides a piece of paper,” he said.

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