Special Section - We Will Never Forget: Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Holds 32nd Ride For Freedom - Washington Times
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We Will Never Forget: Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Holds 32nd Ride For Freedom

"Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Holds 32nd Ride For Freedom" is a Special Report prepared by The Washington Times Special Sections Department.

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Rolling Thunder XXX Ride for Freedom, Memorial Weekend 2017. (Photo by Lee Stalsworth.)

Famed Rolling Thunder honors vets in DC for last time before going nationwide

- The Washington Times

The stars and stripes rule the day, and a million chrome-spoked wheels turn with a single purpose. Rolling Thunder has arrived in the nation's capital for the 32nd annual "Ride for Freedom," a massive display of power, pride and patriotism meant to honor and acknowledge veterans who fought our wars, soldiers missing in action, and the POWs who never made it home.

After the Ride come the tributes

After Rolling Thunder, Inc. XXXII Ride for Freedom, spectators and riders can gather near the Lincoln Memorial for a program featuring Rolling Thunder, Inc. National Sgt. Artie Muller, Executive Director and Founder, and Joe Bean, President, along with the following speakers:

Giant Food is pleased to donate a truckload of bottled water and snacks for participants of the Rolling Thunder, Inc. Ride for Freedom. (Image courtesy of Giant Food)

Supporting our military and their loved ones every day

In 1988, Rolling Thunder held a demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Memorial Day Weekend. Some 2,500 motorcycles from across the country travelled into the city to demand from governmental leaders a full accounting of all POW/MIAs.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2018

Throughout American history, the men and women of our Armed Forces have selflessly served our country, making tremendous sacrifices to defend our liberty. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, we honor all American prisoners of war and express our deep gratitude for the courage and determination they exemplified while enduring terrible hardships.

Veterans from Wounded Warrior Project enjoyed camaraderie on a ride to Mount Rushmore. The stop was part of a cross-country ride from Houston to South Dakota. Photo courtesy of Wounded Warrior Project.

Motorcycles bring veterans together

Camaraderie is a big part of the lives of service members. Spending time in uniform and away from uniform with fellow soldiers, Marines, sailors, or airmen helps build trust and reliance on each other. That bond is just as important as service members leave service and join the civilian world.

An 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, former manager of special sections at The Washington Times, about Rolling Thunder, Inc. XXX Ride for Freedom in 2017. It is republished here with permission.

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

This year marks the 32nd 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).

Bound in heart: Rolling Thunder and American Gold Star Mothers

Each Memorial Day weekend, American Gold Star Mothers look forward to being in Washington, D.C., with Rolling Thunder. We talk about the previous years we have been on the ride and how thrilling it is. We talk about the riders we have met and the friends we have made. This relationship was special from the beginning of the event and it still is in 2019.

Legionnaire Charles Webb hugs Gold Star Mother Barbara Bilbrey, center, while World War II veteran Bruce Heilman, and Phil Perlman, left and right, join Legion members to lay a wreath at the Civil War Unknown Monument during the American Legion Riders Run To The Thunder in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Photo by Cheryl Diaz Meyer / The American Legion)

Legion Riders ensure Gold Star families aren't forgotten

Since 2012, American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, Virginia, has served as a rallying point for thousands of American Legion Riders (ALR) traveling from all over the nation to take part in Rolling Thunder activities in the Beltway.

National Alliance marks 30th anniversary

This year marks the 30th anniversary for The National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen Annual Meeting.

'United in the cause' for POW/MIA

It's almost the summer of 2019, do you know where your children are? Do you know where your husband is, your brother, your friend?

Why Rolling Thunder matters -- and why its mission may never end

I still remember my first trip to D.C. with Rolling Thunder. I loved riding my bike into Washington for the annual Memorial Day demonstration, being part of that impressive gathering of motorcycles, running through cheering, emotional crowds, and playing the concert on the National Mall.

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

It has been an honor singing for the veterans at Rolling Thunder over the past 18 years. Visiting the VA hospitals and singing for veterans, from World War II nurses and Tuskegee Airmen to all other veterans needing care, has been the most memorable and magnificent experience.

Rolling Thunder Protest Ride to the WAll - XXVI

Rolling Thunder: My 'Welcome home'

During the summer of 1992, while delivering photographs, I had the privilege of meeting Dianne Mossman. While talking, I noticed a picture of a Navy pilot near her desk. The pilot was her husband, who is missing in action. Shortly after that day, I obtained, and still wear, a bracelet in honor of LTJG Joe R. Mossman.

For POW/MIA, 'the fight will continue'

I have always felt that what Rolling Thunder and Artie Muller did, in forming the decision to bring the POW/MIA plight to the American people and to those in Congress, was a momentous task.