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Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Holds 31st Ride for Freedom

"Rolling Thunder®, Inc. Holds 31st Ride for Freedom" is a Special Report prepared by The Washington Times Special Sections Department.

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President Donald J. Trump speaks with Secretary of Defense James Mattis and other senior leaders of the armed forces at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Jan. 27, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr)

National POW/MIA Recognition Day 2017

Americans are blessed with many freedoms thanks to the hard-earned battle victories and tremendous sacrifices of our military men and women. The members of our Armed Forces shine a light of freedom throughout the world, and as we celebrate our returning heroes, we also remember our heroes who never returned home. On National POW/MIA Recognition Day, our Nation recognizes all American prisoners of war and service members missing in action who have valiantly honored their commitment to this great country.

U.S. Army Sgt. Artie Muller, founder and national executive director of Rolling Thunder, Inc. (Photo by The Washington Times.)

Three decades and counting ... for POW/MIA

- The Washington Times

It is an image of focus, determination and strength. Here stands Artie Muller, his gaze steady, his denim vest bearing an American flag and a POW emblem. This is a photo from another age, from the early days of Rolling Thunder. The world has changed since then — but not Artie Muller, an Army vet who co-founded the patriotic group over three decades ago to draw attention to the cause of prisoners of war and those who never made it home. He's still got the iron will to honor the original mission, and inspire others to do the same.

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), which offers "compassionate care" to those grieving the death of a loved one serving in armed forces, has received strong support from Giant Food. Image courtesy of Giant Food Inc.

Supporting our military every day

On Memorial Day weekend in 1988, Rolling Thunder held a gathering and march in Washington, D.C. More than 2,500 motorcycles from all over the country converged into the city to demand from governmental leaders a full accounting of all POW/MIAs.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, who was instrumental in placing the POW/MIA Chair of Honor in the U.S. Capitol in November, greets Rolling Thunder, Inc. Founder and Executive Director Artie Muller (center, in beret) and Legislative Director Gus Dante. (Photo by Patrick J. Hughes, Rolling Thunder Inc. National Photographer

POW/MIA priorities: Accountability for the missing, public education, health services for vets

We are an organization comprised of U.S. military veterans, the families of veterans and those who believe in and are supportive of our agenda. The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard are represented in our members. While our organization came into existence in the shadow of the Vietnam War, our membership has included those who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and all of the conflicts that have occurred around the world and drawn upon the U.S. military.

POW/MIA Chair of Honor: A solemn reminder in the U.S. Capitol

It is said that there is loyalty in the simple act of remembrance. In November, the United States Congress unveiled a Chair of Honor that sits empty in the United States Capitol as a tribute to those brave men and women who, in the course of their courageous military service, have been rendered missing in action or prisoners of war.

Veterans feel free on 'iron horses'

Ever since we were children, the wind on our faces exhilarated us. Whether running as fast as you could or the first time accelerating on a bicycle, the feeling was exuberance. As adults, many of us seek ways to recreate those moments.

Remembering those who laid down their lives for our freedoms

Memorial Day is a day we pay tribute to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe and free. This year, Memorial Day takes on even greater meaning to me, as I just returned from an oversight visit to various World War I and World War II American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) sites. As chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, I have oversight responsibility of ABMC's work, both at home and abroad. ABMC employees have made it their life's work to make sure the sacrifice of the men and women who laid down their lives wearing the uniform of the United States of America is never forgotten. Walking those hallowed grounds that saw so much bloodshed for the cause of liberty is an experience I will never forget.

Americans in 50 states honor POW/MIA flag

In a dramatic effort to make sure Americans prisoners of war/missing in action "are not forgotten," a veteran motorcyclist and thousands of allies have worked together to bring the haunting POW/MIA flag to all 50 states.

Honoring those who serve, today and every day

To my fellow bikers, service members, veterans and to all who support our military members, as we pay our respects this Memorial Day to those who have given their lives to protect our great nation, let us recognize the contributions of all who have served.

Cherishing Old Glory -- and the freedom it represents

Growing up, I was blessed to be able to escape the frenzied, fast-paced life of New York City's suburbs by spending my summers with my grandparents. Retreating to the mountains of northern New York, my grandparents taught me valuable and important life-lessons during my impressionable youth. I grew both in stature and in character each year as I modeled myself after the lessons my grandparents taught me, and all of those lessons were based on their faith. Looking back, I treasure those summers as having a lasting effect on the person I am today.

New Freedom Farm, opened in 2016 in Buchanan, Virginia, offers a "safe place" for veterans, especially those seeking camaraderie and relief from post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. (Photo by Doug Wetzstein)

'Save one vet a day, one vet at a time'

"No matter what hardships we endure, we are strong enough to handle them — and they help us to become not only stronger but more compassionate."

'We are remembering our children'

Imagine Memorial Day 1988. Some 2,500 bikes revving their engines at the Pentagon parking lot, waiting to begin the Memorial Day homecoming procession.

SonoSpine: An optimal choice for veterans and military forces

Disbelief filled my mind as I passed by my co-worker's office door. My friend had complained about neck and back pain for as long as I had known him. He had decided to get something done about it not long after we completed a business review of an innovative spine surgery called SonoSpine.

Vietnam helicopter pilots and crewmembers are not forgotten

During the Vietnam War, nearly 5,000 American helicopter pilots and crewmembers lost their lives, fighting in what is often referred to as the "Helicopter War." When I heard from Vietnam veterans in Wisconsin about the need for a national monument to honor these fallen heroes, I wanted to take action.

Shining the spotlight on a group of true American heroes

The Vietnam War was the first in which the United States military relied heavily on helicopters for transportation and combat. These pilots and crew members touched every aspect of efforts during the war, serving as transportation for soldiers and civilians, and providing critical battlefield support.

Pressing ahead with bills to serve, honor vets

For over 30 years, you have contributed to great legislative efforts to give veterans the rights, health care and support they have earned in service to this great country.

Advocating for return, accurate accounting of POW/MIAs

The National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen (The Alliance) was formed in June 1990 when Dolores Apodaca Alfond, former POWs, and some family members of POW/MIA from World War II, Korean War, Cold War, and the War in Southeast Asia grew dissatisfied with what they were witnessing regarding the POW/MIA accounting mission. Our founding members did not start their quest for truth in 1990 but had been involved in the POW/MIA issue for several decades prior.