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.
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.
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:
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.
I hope we give them an education about POWs and MIAs. I hope that they have more respect for our military and our veterans and understand what they've been through.
Kirk Lippold sent his check to Harley-Davidson from Koper, Slovenia, in October 2000 while he was in port on the Adriatic Sea, planning to pick up his ride when he and the destroyer he commanded — the USS Cole — returned to port.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
This year marks the 30th anniversary for The National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen Annual Meeting.
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?
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.
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.
Memorial Day weekend is the kick off to summer, the end of the school year and as many of these long weekend "holidays," a time to be with family. I am certainly looking forward to seeing my own kids, grandkids and getting in some "Nanny" time.
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.
A group of veterans in New Hampshire has filed a lawsuit to remove a Bible on display in the lobby of a VA hospital in the state's largest city, Manchester.
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.
Rolling Thunder has always been a big part of our lives, our whole family. I was just a little boy when we were going down to D.C. for the POW/MIA issue.
During my 14 years with Rolling Thunder, I've participated in many of its activities including the annual Memorial Weekend Washington D.C. "Demonstration Run."
It's interesting that as we get closer to this year's Memorial Day, I have had the chance to digest the idea that there may not be another Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom in D.C.