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Rolling Thunder Holds 30th Ride for Freedom

Rolling Thunder Holds 30th Ride for Freedom is a Special Report prepared by The Washington Times Advocacy Department.

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Artie Muller, national executive director and founder of Rolling Thunder, Inc.

30 years later, still roaring for POW/MIA freedom

- The Washington Times

For three decades, they have faithfully fired up their machines, raised up Old Glory and taken off on a mission of freedom, remembrance and resolve. This is the true essence of Rolling Thunder, an annual event which draws 500,000 motorcyclists to the nation's capital each year to underscore the rights and importance of veterans who fought our wars, those soldiers missing in action, and the POWs who never made it home.

'Hanoi Hilton' veteran: 'We must do all we can' for POW/MIA

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Rolling Thunder. Each year, its Ride for Freedom is an inspiring reminder that we must do all we can to ensure a full accounting for American forces who remain missing in action (MIA).

A man role-plays the part of a POW in a cage as he is pulled by a motorcycle, during the Rolling Thunder XXII Ride for Freedom along Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 24, 2009.  (Rod Lamkey Jr. / The Washington Times)

A haunting reminder of POW torture

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.

A sacred vow -- and solemn acts of remembrance

Ahead of Memorial Day, Washington, D.C., will welcome thousands of members of Rolling Thunder from across the country to mark the 30th anniversary of the organization's tireless efforts to ensure that, as a nation, we never forget about the over 83,000 men and women from this country that are Prisoners Of War-Missing In Action.

Marine Corps Sgt. Richard Silva, an amputee veteran, accepts a three-wheel Can-Am Spyder donated by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys in December 2016., a nationwide program using motorcycle therapy to help wounded combat veterans adjust to civilian life, and its fiscal sponsor, White Heart Foundation, enable industry giving to deserving vets. Jay Leno helped surprise Richard with the gift.

Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys: Helping wounded vets ride again

On August 17, 2004, Marine Corps Sgt. Richard Silva and his recon unit in Fallujah, Iraq, were attacked by mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and relentless enemy fire, leaving him critically wounded from shrapnel and the impact of the blasts.

Trade relations should open doors to POW/MIA recovery

As a nation, we celebrate and give thanks to our veterans. We mourn those whom we've lost in defense of this great nation. And, we must never forget the unthinkable pain for families whose loved ones have not returned home.

Air Force veteran and avid motorcyclist, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell rode many times with Rolling Thunder during his years in Congress. Photo courtesy of Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

'We owe it to families, American history to do best by them'

The following is a conversation between former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado Republican, and Cheryl Wetzstein, manager of special sections at The Washington Times, about Rolling Thunder, Inc. XXX Ride for Freedom. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Marine Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers from San Diego, California, stands at attention for hours to salute the tens of thousands of motorcyclists who participate in the annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom in Washington. Photo by The Washington Times.

A sincere salute: Respect, appreciation, gratitude

For me, this annual POW/MIA demonstration is all about doing what is right for the men and women who were sent to war and never came home and the families left behind. We owe nothing less than accountability and closure.

The Trump administration: A new opportunity?

Understanding where POW/MIA accounting stands today and the way ahead requires knowing where we have been. Objectivity, reason and logic in pursuing answers on missing U.S. personnel from the Vietnam War — military and civilian — have always been critical.

Nancy Sinatra with Artie Muller at a Rolling Thunder demonstration. Image courtesy of Nancy Sinatra.

'United in the cause' for POW/MIA

It's almost the summer of 2017, do you know where your children are? Do you know where your husband is, your brother, your friend?

'Thank you' to vets -- and 'no more soldiers left behind'

I was asked why do I go to Washington, D.C., and sing for Rolling Thunder/POW-MIA. Well, I didn't serve in the military, but my father served in the Korean War and my son serves in the Navy. I feel like I missed out serving my country, so I do what I can. I sing my heart out.

Select D.C.-area Chick-fil-A restaurants set up Missing Man Tables, like this one at the Bristow Chick-fil-A in Manassas, Virginia, for its market-wide Military Appreciation Day on Wednesday, May 25, to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Image courtesy of Chick-fil-A.

Rolling Thunder, 'Missing Man' tables and the Bible

Memorial Day is a time for Americans to remember the sacrifices made for the freedoms we enjoy. Those sacrifices include the lives of many young men and women who paid the ultimate price for our continued liberty.

At left, Paul Kocic, who served in the U.S. Army from 1973-1998, bows his head during a moment of silence for fallen troops at the Rolling Thunder program near the National Mall during the Memorial Day weekend, in Washington, D.C., Sunday, May 29, 2011. The Rolling Thunder organization's mission is to bring awareness to the POW-MIA issue and to educate the public about how many American prisoners of war were left behind after all past wars. (Drew Angerer/The Washington Times)

National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2016

For centuries, courageous members of our Armed Forces have embodied the best of America with devotion and patriotism.

Vice President Mike Pence has long supported Rolling Thunder, Inc.  Last May, as Indiana's governor, Mr. Pence joined with chapter members of Indiana's Rolling Thunder and tweeted, "Honored to lead the first leg of Rolling Thunder's 'Ride for Freedom' from Indy to DC in support of our POWs & MIAs."

Chapters serving vets, remembering POW/MIA every day

From coast to coast, members of Rolling Thunder chapters do more than ride for freedom — they step up for veterans and the POW/MIA issue throughout the year.

Jenny Connell Robertson (far right) whose Navy pilot husband died in captivity, and Helene Knapp (second from right), whose Air Force pilot husband is still missing in action, spoke at a May 7 event to open the exhibit, "The League of Wives: Vietnam's POW/MIA Allies and Advocates," at the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics in Lawrence, Kansas. Heath Hardage Lee (center), curator of the exhibit, and Audrey Coleman (left), assistant director and senior archivist at the Dole Institute, joined the panel. Image courtesy of Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics.

They too are not forgotten: POW/MIA wives

This May, an exhibit dedicated to the stories of the wives and families of prisoners of war and missing in action during the Vietnam War was opened with a panel discussion with two of the women who lived — and are living — through it.

National Chair of Honor at FedExField

The Washington Redskins' official military appreciation program, Redskins Salute, and Rolling Thunder Washington, D.C. Inc., unveiled a Prisoner of War (POW)/Missing in Action (MIA) Chair of Honor at FedExField during the Redskins 2016 home opener on Monday, Sept. 12.